Women's Football

Washington Spirit co-owner Steve Baldwin confirms intension to sell stake

Lizzy Becherano
Steve Baldwin to sell his share in the Washington Spirit amid NWSL chaos
Steve Baldwin to sell his share in the Washington Spirit amid NWSL chaos / Abbie Parr/GettyImages
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Washington Spirit co-owner Steve Baldwin has informed investors that he plans to sell his stake in the club as the fallout from the NWSL scandal continues.

In an email obtained by the Washington Post, Baldwin wrote: “I have heard the calls for change. I understand that many of our fans, players, and investors feel that the club requires new leadership, direction, and energy. And I agree.”

Though the specific buyer has not been revealed, the email confirmed one had been chosen and “a sale process for the club has commenced in earnest".

The public’s urge for Baldwin to resign came after reports revealed the toxic culture surrounding the Washington Spirit and its staff. In early August, the Washington Post published the league’s investigation into allegations of verbal and emotional abuse by head coach Richie Burke, including testimonies from female employees that detail the toxic 'old boys’ club' culture. 

The Post’s story included details of male executives using degrading nicknames for female players, and former players admitting Burke 'made racially insensitive jokes' while describing him as being 'unbelievably volatile'.

Burke has since been fired from his position, but players and fans have urged Baldwin to leave his post as well for his contribution to the dangerous culture. 

Baldwin did not specify when the sale would be made but added that it “should be completed by the end of the year.”

The Washington Spirit are not the only team at the center of recent investigations made by the league and media. The Athletic recently spoke to former NWSL players Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, who detailed the extent of their accusations against former Portland Thorns and coach Paul Riley. 

The Athletic recently spoke to former NWSL players Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, who detailed the extent of their accusations against former Portland Thorns and coach Paul Riley. 

Riley has since been fired from his position as head coach of the North Carolina Courage after the allegations of sexual coercion came to light. NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird has also stepped away from her involvement with the league and the US Soccer federation.

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