Leagues and Governing Bodies

Sources: NWSL players not showing up for preseason training without new CBA

NWSL players "won't report to their clubs for the first day of the 2022 preseason without a collective bargaining agreement in place," according to sources cited by Meg Linehan of THE ATHLETIC. With no deal in place after more than a year of bargaining, the NWSLPA "will now see if this new, unofficial deadline -- now less than two weeks away -- will help hammer out the finer details of the league's first CBA by Feb. 1." While there are tentative agreements between the players and the league in place on a number of fronts thanks to more than 35 bargaining sessions since the process began, sources said that there are "still a few key sticking points between the two sides." The finer details of free agency "remain to be settled, plus when those resulting changes to roster rules would actually take effect." Sources said that this is "one of the major issues that must be addressed by the end of the month." Linehan wrote fans "will absolutely support the players if they decide to keep negotiating, especially considering the events of 2021 for the league." The league's first CBA "will likely be a win for the players, even if they're not completely successful at pushing for everything they might want -- as long as it sets up the foundation for future negotiations the next time around." The league "can share if that win if the CBA is agreed to before Feb. 1" (, 1/20).

Spirit co-Owner Y. Michele Kang had to try to solve team's problems on her own, which is hardly reassuring about league's managementGetty Images

TURNING A BLIND EYE? In DC, Sally Jenkins writes that the NWSL allowed the Washington Spirit's "noxious and contentious ownership-limbo situation to go on for so long is in keeping with league leadership's habit of deafening silence at the top, which enabled hand-tossing amateurs and abusers to operate at will and on whim." Spirit co-Owner Y. Michele Kang "has had to try to solve the Spirit's problems on her own with a boardroom power move, which is hardly reassuring about the entire league's management." Kang's bid to seize control of the franchise from Majority Owner Steve Baldwin -- "running circles around him to secure the support of other shareholders -- should be quickly sustained by the NWSL Board of Governors." Baldwin was "utterly unfit to own a public-facing organization and to manage its sale." Jenkins: "How is it that Baldwin has been allowed to hold so many women organizationally hostage in this miserable situation for so long?" The Spirit became a "smoking churn of sexism and unprofessionalism under this guy." In the months since the NWSL's 60-page investigative finding that the Spirit was a "toxic" workplace, Baldwin's conduct "has only compounded the astonishing offensiveness of the organization -- and erased any doubt about the origin-source of its climate" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/21).

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