Megan Rapinoe recently revealed former OL Reign coach Farid Benstiti made “fat-shaming” comments to players during his time with the team.
Benstiti departed in July after management forced the manager to resign without giving an explanation to the fanbase. Months after his exit, the Washington Post reported that a complaint was filed against the former head coach for verbal abuse, specifically “inappropriate comments to players regarding their fitness and nutrition.”
The team’s CEO Bill Predmore subsequently confirmed to the Post that he propelled the departure of Benstiti after being made aware of the situation and comments.
“He made some - it was basically like a fat-shaming comment. He was talking about - he’s going to, like, take people’s food away. And I’m like, oh, my God, grow up. You just got yourself fired; you’re so stupid,” Rapinoe said to NPR.
“But, like, just little stuff like that where if you’re making $25,000 and you have no autonomy over your rights, you have - you’re not a free agent. You’re barely scraping by. You just came out of college. Like, you’re not going to say anything. You’re just not. Like, it’s too difficult to put someone in that position.”
But Benstiti’s behavior was no secret. The coach was infamously known for such comments, with USWNT figure Lindsey Horan speaking publicly about her experience with Benstiti while playing for Paris Saint-Germain. She spoke openly about the situation in 2021, insisting he made her “want to quit soccer.”
“In France, that was the number one time that I felt like I wanted to quit soccer. I was not enjoying myself and there was just so much wrong being done, that I lost the love for the game,” Horan said on the Butterfly Road podcast.
“One of my teammates, after an away game, she had chocolate and the coach heard it in the front [of the team bus] and came back and basically took the chocolate from her, and said, ‘You can’t have this around Lindsey,’ because I was sitting a seat ahead of her.”
Laura Harvey has since taken over the club, coming back after leading OL Reign from 2013 to 2017.