The NWSL is investigating allegations that a Houston Dash employee racially profiled Chicago Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden last week. Following their Challenge Cup opener, Gorden posted a Twitter thread saying a Dash staff member harassed and threatened to arrest her boyfriend for approaching the field after the game, while ignoring the same conduct from other white family members talking to white players.
“I asked the security guard why he was only talking to us,” Gorden said in her tweets. “He said he would go to them later. He never approached any of them. These players have multiple photos with their people.”
Red Stars assistant coach Scott Parkinson corroborated Gorden’s account, and added even more details from his perspective.
“It seemed to me that Sarah and her three Black friends were the only ones being addressed in this way and it was extremely upsetting,” Parkinson said. “I was angry and gave the staff member a piece of my mind… He was arrogant and didn’t seem to care, honestly.
“As we left the field I was pointing to him to deal with the other players interacting with other fans, but he wouldn’t. He was arrogantly telling me, ‘I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you,’ because I was shouting at him.
“In the moment my instincts told me they were being unfairly treated because of the color of their skin.”
The day after the game, the Dash offered an apology, saying the security guard was focused solely on following COVID-19 safety protocols. There was no mention of racial profiling, or the fact that Gorden alleged she was approached by Dash staff while others weren’t. After social media backlash, they apologized for their previous, inadequate apology.
“This is just another reason why we kneel,” Gorden said on Friday.