On Wednesday, October 27th, Nadine Angerer posted a statement on her Twitter feed discussing the events of this summer, those of 2015, and her viewpoint on them both.
We the fans have had no other inside information about the events of that season that lead to the current outrage over the criminal acts of then-coach Paul Riley other than the work of Meg Linehan at the Athletic.
We have the demands of the current Thorns players.
But little else.
Angerer now provides us another data point.
You can read her post on Twitter, but I’ve included the screencaps here:
Here’s what I find intriguing about this – assuming that Angerer is being bluntly truthful of her memories of the 2014-15 seasons and her convictions now.
It’s worth noting that while she was on one side of the shop floor in 2015 she’s on the other now. Could becoming management have altered Angerer’s views? Well, as the old music hall number goes:
“The working class
Can kiss my ass
I’ve got the foreman’s job at last.”
I think – I want to think – Angerer is an honest woman.
But she wouldn’t be the first to see things differently from the C-suite then from on the assembly line. That’s worth keeping in mind.
But – assuming she is being truthful – first because it suggests that I was wrong in assuming as I did when I wrote my original post about the events of 2015 that it was impossible for Riley to have been criming on Farrelly and Shim without there being some sort of rumors or gossip within the club about his activities.
Angerer blames herself for not doing enough to help her teammates. But the way I read her statement is that she blames herself for not looking for the crimes, rather than knowing of them (or, at least, suspecting because of those “rumors and gossip”) and failing to stop them or at least bring them to light.
She seems to be confessing to a fault of omission, rather than commission.
If one of the players could be unaware of Riley’s acts, then by inference the Front Office might not have been either.
Which – let me emphasize – doesn’t relieve them from the responsibility that they should have known.
The old Army saying covers this; “You may delegate authority but not responsibility.” It is the responsibility of a team owner, management, and the coaching staff, to provide a safe and healthy place for their players to train, work, and play.
The Thorns FO did not, and the culpability for that – depending on the degree to which and the skill at which Riley worked to hide his crimes from them – is on them.
Second, because of the degree to which Angerer steps up hard in defense of Gavin Wilkinson.
Both as a part of the Front Office (and as such responsible for the team’s working conditions) and, specifically, as a supporter and defender of Angerer’s personal life and relationships.
Particularly where Angerer says that Wilkinson “…has always been supportive of me and my wife living openly, honestly, and has never discouraged us from being authentic selves.”
Because in the Linehan piece Mana Shim stated that Wilkinson
“…instructed her to not be as vocal about off-the-field matters. We don’t talk about being gay or having pride. We play soccer. Wilkinson also praised one of the team’s best players and her reticence to discuss anything but soccer in interviews.”~Meg Linehan, The Athletic, 2021
Is Angerer the “team’s best player” who Wilkinson praised to Shim for her reticence? Is this a current member of the Thorns management sticking up for her supervisor? Is this just Angerer standing up to a manager she believes was important in making her life here possible, giving the guy his props for having her back?
Or is Angerer laying down a reply – a rebuttal – to Shim?
Is this a 2015 player saying that her experience at that time suggests that, as Wilkinson has claimed, he would never have said anything similar to what Shim claims he said?
I cannot see into anyone’s heart but my own, so I cannot be sure which of the above is true.
What I think it does is restate the importance of the proposed league and player association inquiry into the events of 2015; what happened, how did it happen, and, most importantly, who knew, and was it possible that the people involved should have known. Of being patient until that inquiry is completed.
Right now Angerer’s statement is just a data point. We don’t know what she could have known, what her viewpoint from the goal could or should have been. We know what she believes, but how objective – or not – are those beliefs?
There’s not hope in Hell that Angerer’s words on Twitter, or mine here, for that matter, are going to change the minds of those fans who are refusing to drop twelve bucks for a Modelo until #GWOut.
But they suggest that, even if we’re patient, even if we’re willing to suspend some of our anger and outrage, even if the investigation gives us a full and final accounting of what Riley did in 2015, we might not find the answers as to whether GW should be in or out as simple and satisfactory as we might like.