Alexander: NWSL scandalous behavior hits closer to home

The world according to Jim:

• The report on misconduct, abuse and coach-to-player sexual harrassment in the National Women’s Soccer League is disgusting enough. The 172-page documentation, compiled by former U.S. acting Attorney General Sally Yates and including input from more than 200 interviews of players and league and team executives, paints a sordid picuture of (a) certain coaches’ reprehensible conduct toward their players, and (b) their ability to get away with it with little oversight, thanks to ignorance and inaction from executives and administrators all the way up the chain. …

• But ugly as it is, that may not even be the worst part. Toward the end of the report was this passage:

“Several NWSL coaches whose conduct was at issue also have deep connections with youth soccer. During the course of our investigation, we confronted multiple historical reports about misconduct in youth soccer. Coaches and (U.S. Soccer) Federation officials have observed that verbal and emotional abuse is common in youth soccer, and players told us that verbal and emotional abuse in youth soccer made it more difficult to determine what was out of bounds in the NWSL.”

In other words, do you really know what happens when your kid is at practice? …

• This is not at all to suggest that all youth sports are hotbeds of physical or emotional abuse. Far from it. I’m sure the vast majority of coaches are in it for the right reasons. But there have been far too many reported cases, be it club/travel sports, high school or college, to just take for granted that those in charge are doing the right things. …

• The abuses have been exposed – in multiple sports, on multiple levels – because the athletes have spoken up and forced the people in charge to listen. So parents, if you suspect something, talk to your kids. More importantly, listen to them. …

• One soccer-specific suggestion that came out of the report, but that maybe should apply to other sports, involved coaching certification. Currently soccer coaches in the United States must be licensed by the USSF, but the report noted that “the current coach licensing system is essentially a ‘diploma’ system,” good forever. The recommendation is for coaches to reapply periodically, a process that presumably would include sufficient vetting to weed out the abusers and manipulators. (As opposed to the NWSL, where problem coaches simply bounced from one franchise to another.) …

• Maybe this is another reason why Southern California’s expansion franchises, Angel City FC and the San Diego Wave, were such feel-good stories: Both hired female coaches, Casey Storey in San Diego and Freya Coombe in L.A., in a league in which eight of the other 10 teams have male coaches (and by season’s end four of those were interim). …

• This is a wild stat: The Seattle Mariners returned to the postseason Friday for the first time since 2001. In the 21 years since, every MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL team had reached the postseason except for the Seattle Kraken, and they’ve only been in the NHL for a season.

If the Kraken had duplicated the Vegas Golden Knights’ feat and made it in Year One, how embarrassing would that have been to the Mariners? …

• Meanwhile, the Angels’ drought is now eight seasons, and in the last seven they’ve never been fewer than 10 games out of first place, or better than two games under .500, at season’s end.

It sounds like Perry Minasian said nothing in his postseason presser Thursday to provide any confidence that the drought would end next year. But what can he say, beyond “wait for the next owner?”

He did say he hopes Joe Maddon will sell a lot of books, but he’s not buying a copy. I think we know why.

• An email tumbled into the inbox Thursday touting the board tasked with implementing the proposed gondola from Union Station to Dodger Stadium, run by the nonprofit organization “Zero Emissions Transit.”

But there’s no estimate of a target date for completion. And, notably, there is also no mention of Frank McCourt, who came up with the idea – and whose name remains anathema in L.A. Someone advised these folks well. …

• So did Wild Card Friday seem to anyone else like the first two days of March Madness, with wall-to-wall weekday ball?

Say what you want about the expansion of the baseball postseason, and whether four extra first-round series are a positive or a negative. I can see both viewpoints. But a Friday full of baseball to start the playoffs is a budding tradition I can get behind. …

• Is this a sign of the apocalypse, that we now have cheating allegations in chess, poker and fishing?

jalexander@scng.com