The Orlando Pride placed head coach Amanda Cromwell and first assistant coach Sam Greene on administrative leave, the team announced Tuesday morning.
This decision came at the recommendation of the National Women's Soccer League and the NWSLPA, which has been conducting an investigation into "alleged retaliation in violation of the NWSL Policy to Prevent and Eliminate Workplace Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying." The league added that the investigation remains ongoing and no final decisions have been reached.
The Pride named assistant coach Seb Hines as the interim head coach while the investigation continues. Hines is a former English Premier League player who also played for Orlando City until 2017. He has been an assistant coach with the Pride since 2020.
The NWSL also froze any roster movement for the Pride, according to The Athletic's Meg Linehan.
"Providing a respectful environment and adhering to all league policies are of the utmost priority for the Pride, the team said in a statement. "The Club is committed to fully cooperating with the Joint Investigative Team through the conclusion of this process. As this is an ongoing investigation, the Club will have no further comment at this time."
While it's unclear exactly what happened with the Pride, the phrasing "retaliation" in NWSL's recommendation likely alludes to a specific kind of violation laid out in the league's policy:
NWSL also prohibits reprisal or retaliation against anyone for filing a good faith complaint under this policy; supporting or assisting, in good faith, someone else in pursuing a complaint; objecting to misconduct; or filing, testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing conducted by a governmental enforcement agency. NWSL will not, and will not allow a Team to, retaliate against anyone for exercising any rights under this policy. Retaliation is a violation of this policy. Prohibited retaliation includes, but is not limited to, termination, demotion, suspension, failure to hire or consider for hire, failure to give equal consideration in making employment decisions, failure to make employment recommendations impartially, adversely affecting working conditions or otherwise denying any employment benefit.
Cromwell has coached the Pride since December 2021 after a long collegiate coaching career with UCLA (2013-2021), UCF (1999-2013) and UMBC (1996-1997).
More trouble in the NWSL
The decision to suspend Cromwell and Greene stems from the investigation the NWSL launched in late-2021 following numerous reports of alleged workplace misconduct across the league, which led to a number of firings, suspensions and resignations over the past several months.
The North Carolina Courage fired head coach Paul Riley in September of 2021 after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged. The Washington Spirit fired coach Richie Burke the same month after suspending him in August following allegations of verbal abuse, which led to owner Steve Baldwin selling the team.
Then-commissioner Lisa Baird resigned in September as well.
The Houston Dash suspended general manager and coach James Clarkson on April 26, 2022, following allegations of discrimination, harassment and abuse.
Cromwell and the Pride are the most recent members to be affected by the investigation, but they might not be the last. The league maintained their investigation with the NWSLPA will continue and they encouraged more people to come forward with information that would help.
"The Joint Investigation remains ongoing," the league said in a statement Tuesday, "and the NWSL and NWSLPA encourage current and former players and staff with information relating to discrimination, harassment, abuse, or bullying within the league, whether in connection with this incident or other issues, to contact NWSL_Investigation@cov.com, to reach out to the NWSL or NWSLPA directly, or through any other club and league reporting channels."