Alaska Airlines Ground Workers Reach Contract Extension

Alaska Airlines Re-Evaluating Soccer Sponsorships After Troubling Report

A damning report on the systemic abuse of players in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has caused at least one travel company to re-evaluate its association with U.S. Soccer Federation teams.

Alaska Airlines on Tuesday issued a short statement saying it was assessing its options with both the league, teams and the Federation after the public release of what is being dubbed The Yates Report. Conducted by former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, the independent investigation into numerous complaints and allegations by female players in the NWSL found substantial and damaging examples of systemic abuse, including sexual and emotional abuse.


“We are deeply concerned by the findings in the Sally Q. Yates independent report, commissioned by U.S. Soccer,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement. “We recognize the tremendous courage of the women’s soccer players and others who came forward.”

As a result, the carrier said it is reconsidering its sponsorship not only of the Portland Thorns of the women’s pro league but also its association with the Portland Timbers FC of the men’s Major League Soccer.

“As a long-standing partner of the Portland Thorns and Timbers FCs, our priority is supporting the players and ensuring any action we take contributes to positive systemic change. We are currently assessing options to fulfill those objectives,” the airline said.

Alaska Airlines is believed to be the first sponsor of any kind to issue a statement regarding its partnership with the women’s league or the individual franchises. All eyes now look to see if Delta Air Lines will issue a similar statement – Delta is the only other travel-related sponsor of the NWSL and is the Official Airline of the league after signing on earlier this year.

TravelPulse left a message Wednesday morning seeking comment from Delta Corporate Communications. The airline has not yet responded at the time of publication.

The investigation interviewed more than 200 players, coaches, league, and team officials, according to CNN.

“Our investigation has revealed a league (NWSL) in which abuse and misconduct — verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct — had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims,” the report reads. “Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players.”

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