NWSL issues no discipline after investigation into Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden's racial profiling claim

Jack Baer
·Writer
·2 min read

Chicago Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden's claim that a Houston security guard racially profiled her and her boyfriend will result in no discipline from the NWSL, the league announced Tuesday.

The NWSL said an independent investigator had interviewed multiple witnesses and reviewed security footage, but declined to provide specific findings from the investigation:

Based on the findings of the independent investigator, no disciplinary action will be taken against the club. Because of the confidentiality restrictions in the policy, the league will not have further comment on the investigation itself or the outcome other than to thank those who came forward with their concerns and those who participated in the investigation.

Gorden, who is Black, alleged that a Houston Dash security guard had inconsistently enforced COVID-19 social distancing protocols via a Twitter thread last month, noting that white players for the Dash were allowed to speak closely with their families. 

Gorden said the incident was emblematic of the racial injustice that NWSL players have been protesting by kneeling during the national anthem.

The full thread: 

My bf came to our game against @HoustonDash + after the game he came down steps to talk to me. We were immediately (before he was close 2 me) followed by security and told he would be arrested if he came close. Meanwhile white players were talking to white fam all over the stadium. 

At first I didn’t realize this was a racial issue until I saw white @HoustonDash players surrounding the stadium talking closely to their family and we were the only ones targeted.

I asked the security guard why he was only talking to us. He said he would go to them later. He never approached any of them. These players have multiple photos with their people.

This is just another reason why we kneel.

Gorden, an Illinois native and DePaul graduate, has been a member of the Red Stars since 2016, and has also made appearances with the U.S. women's national team.

Chicago Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden (11) runs upfield during an NWSL Challenge Cup soccer match, Friday, April 9, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)
Sarah Gorden claimed a security guard singled out her and her boyfriend while enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)

The accusation resulted in a quick apology from the Dash, who confirmed that a number of their players had violated COVID-19 protocols and said they regretted giving Gorden the impression she had been singled out for reasons other than COVID-19 safety.

Red Stars then issued a statement of their own, claiming Gorden had been discriminated against and called the situation unacceptable. It is unclear if the NWSL investigation found any evidence to back up the claim.

Oddly enough, the only people reportedly disciplined by the league for the incident were an ESPN personality and the general manager of a third team. ESPN's Sarah Spain, who co-owns the Red Stars, and Gotham FC general manager Alyse LaHue were both reportedly fined for tweeting about the investigation.

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