(Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Y. Michele Kang has called for Washington Spirit majority owner and CEO Steve Baldwin to step down and sell her his shares in the team.
In a letter to Spirit fans and investors on Monday, Kang wrote that she has “held back out of respect for the players, staff and League investigations” but that her statement has “been a long time coming.”
BREAKING: Washington Spirit co-owner Y. Michele Kang broke her silence this morning and sent a very, very strongly-worded message to fan groups & her co-investors. Holds no punches.
— Pablo Iglesias Maurer (@MLSist) September 27, 2021
The letter comes after an article in The Washington Post last Wednesday, which detailed the toxic working environment for females within the Spirit. Kang called The Post’s reporting “accurate,” as she detailed how players and staff had approached her in April to share stories “that reflected how toxic our workplace culture had become.”
“I was told that a climate of fear and intimidation has persisted for years,” she wrote. “An archaic and hierarchical command-and-control mindset, built on bullying and cronyism, left no room for the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
A league investigation into the Spirit was recently completed, according to the Post. It was opened in August after allegations of verbal abuse against the team’s former coach, Richie Burke, surfaced. Reportedly, the probe widened to include allegations of a toxic “old boys club” culture, as The Post reported this month.
An announcement of the investigation’s results is expected this week.
“It is time for the Spirit to turn the page on this sad chapter in its history and bring in new leadership to chart a new path,” Kang continued. “That change must start at the top. I call on Steve Baldwin to put the Club first and honor the commitment he made to Commissioner [Lisa] Baird and me on August 13.”
Kang’s sentiment echoes that of the Spirit Squadron, who last week called on Baldwin to sell the team. The fan club made headlines on ESPN, including being featured on the chyron multiple times on Friday. During Sunday’s game, as promised, they stayed mostly silent in protest of Baldwin. Banners were unfurled at the game, including one that read, “Can You Hear Us Now?”
The Spirit, who currently sit on the verge of the NWSL Playoffs, play the North Carolina Courage on Friday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. ET.
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