NWSL’s Spirit suspend coach after abuse claims

Richie Burke is out as Washington Spirit coach, according to a statement released by the NWSL club. The announcement follows allegations of verbal and emotional abuse of players detailed in a report by The Washington Post.

A statement from the Spirit on Tuesday said he had left his position because of health issues and was reassigned to the team’s front office. On Wednesday, a second statement from the club confirmed an investigation was taking place into Burke’s conduct and said he was suspended pending the results of the investigation.

The statement read: “On the heels of our announcement yesterday that Coach Burke was resigning, a Washington Post reporter contacted the Spirit with allegations of mistreatment — verbal and emotional abuse leveled at players — by Coach Burke.

“We take these allegations very seriously and are undertaking an immediate investigation. Burke has been suspended pending the investigation and is prohibited from contacting players and staff and our facilities.

“We, as a team, will not tolerate any situation for our players and staff that is less than professional. Our athletes, and all of those who support them, deserve the absolute best.”