USMNT player’s mom tipped off US Soccer to coach’s domestic violence history I The Rush

USMNT player Gio Reyna’s mother Danielle claimed to be the source of the tip that led the U.S. Soccer Federation to investigate men’s coach Gregg Berhalter for a 1991 incident of domestic violence. The Reyna and Berhalter families have a decades-long history of friendship that has certainly now turned sour after Danielle Reyna revealed why she reported Berhalter’s past abuse to his employer. Plus, the Buffalo Bills provided an update on critically injured safety Damar Hamlin while President Joe Biden called Hamlin’s parents and revealed his feelings about the inconvenient truths of football in front of reporters.

Video Transcript

- Born into a legacy, a name that meant something. I found my voice, my touch, and my style. I don't just want to be an American player. I want to be the player. And now, it's time for the world to look out for me.

[AUDIO LOGO]

- Gio Reyna is about to become a household name for all the wrong reasons. The US Men's National Team player was the subject of controversy during the World Cup, as many soccer fans and pundits felt he was being underutilized in Qatar. Rumor has it that the 20-year-old Reyna was being benched for behavioral reasons.

- Oh.

- And that seemed to be confirmed by Men's National Team Coach Gregg Berhalter, who spoke at a Leadership Conference on December 11, spilling the tea about an unnamed player who was almost sent home from Qatar and was held accountable by coaches and angry teammates for his lack of commitment.

- This is hard.

- Here we are a few weeks after Berhalter made those comments, and the US Soccer Federation announced an investigation into the coach after being tipped off about a domestic violence accusation against him from 1991.

- Deep dive.

- Berhalter and his wife Roslyn released a statement on Tuesday revealing that Greg kicked Roslyn, who was his girlfriend at the time during an argument when he was an 18-year-old college student. Berhalter claimed that he underwent therapy after the incident and never physically abused Roslyn again. The two eventually married, had four children, and recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. OK, are you still following me here? Because this is where the story takes a full long soap opera turn.

- Go on.

- In his statement that admitted wrongdoing more than 30 years ago, Berhalter wrote that this tip to US Soccer was meant to destroy his career. On Wednesday, that suspicion was essentially confirmed by none other than Gio Reyna's mother, Danielle. Mama Reyna revealed that she tipped off US Soccer to Berhalter's past because she was upset about the comments he made about her son Gio. In a statement, Danielle Reyna said, quote, I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologized for acting immaturely about his playing time, was still being dragged through the mud when Greg had asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse at the same age. End quote.

This takes the stereotypes about out-of-control youth sports parents to the next level, because Gio is a grown up, and his parents are interfering with his employer. Wow. There are more wrinkles to this though. The Reynas and the Berhalters have been friends since they were teenagers. Gio's dad Claudio and Greg were teammates, and Danielle was Roslyn's college roommate at the time of the kicking incident. In her statement, Danielle said that Greg is downplaying the severity of the 1991 incident, and that while it took her a long time to forgive him, she eventually did. And then promptly unforgave him when he trash talked her son. This is deep, real deep. The future of Berhalter's status as the coach of the Men's National Team is uncertain at the moment, but there's one thing I'm pretty certain of. There won't be any Berhalter-Reyna family gatherings anytime soon.

The latest official update on Damar Hamlin's health came from the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday, posting on Twitter that Hamlin remains in the ICU, but has shown signs of improvement. Hopefully Hamlin's family got an additional lift of spirits after a phone conversation with none other than President Joe Biden. President Biden told reporters that he spoke at length with the Hamlin family, and when a reporter asked, do you think the NFL is getting too dangerous? Well, here's what he said.

- You got guys that are 6'8", 340 pounds running a 4.8 40. I mean, you hit somebody with that kind of force-- now, that's not what happened here. But I just think it's-- I don't know how you avoid it.

- Never thought I'd see the day where the President said something that basically the entire United States can agree on. Way to go, Joe. No lies detected.

[AUDIO LOGO]