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Ex-NWSL commissioner pledges to cooperate with abuse probes, doesn’t

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The former NWSL commissioner did not respond to Sally Yates despite telling staff at his current organization that he was an “open book” and was “enthusiastic” about an investigation into why complaints of abuse and sexual misconduct went ignored by both the league and U.S. Soccer.

In a call last October with staff at USA Curling, where he has been CEO since February 2020, Jeff Plush defended his actions as NWSL commissioner and said he would “fully disclose” what had occurred. Details of the call were provided to USA TODAY Sports by people with knowledge of it. They requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. 

“I am enthusiastic about a full investigation,” Plush said on the 6½-minute call, which took place Oct. 5, 2021, five days after The Athletic reported that Paul Riley had gone on to coach other NWSL teams after being fired by the Portland Thorns following complaints of sexual coercion and harassment.

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“I have absolutely no equivocation whatsoever that I did the right thing. I know that I did the legal thing, I did the only things I could do by the law. I’m happy to let that come out,” Plush said, adding that he had told USA Curling’s Board of Directors the same thing.

U.S. Soccer hired Yates, a former U.S. Attorney General, last October to investigate abuse and sexual misconduct in the NWSL. In her report issued Oct. 3, Yates noted that Plush “never responded to our outreach.”

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