News broke this week of the former US attorney General Sally Yates’ report regarding the systemic abuse that plagues the United States National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
The report stated that the league is one in which abuse and misconduct had become systemic. The report found that the abuse of female soccer players is rooted in a deeper culture of women’s soccer beginning in youth leagues.
Should we be surprised?
We live in a culture in which women are devalued and are often nothing more than sexual objects. Such objectification of women makes them easy prey.
Lack of media attention
That our culture does not value women is highlighted by the fact that the Yates’ report received little media attention.
News of the report first came out on Mon, Oct 3. In response, ESPN put together an hour-long special, Truth Be Told, which aired the next evening.
Four days later, however, as I write this post, news related to the report is difficult to find.
Now, to be fair, I did find a 91-word post buried well down on the ESPN.com home page which relayed the response of some of England’s women’s team players.
That’s it. 91 words. Well down on the feed.
Yet, far higher up on the feed of ESPN.com’s homepage is a 2,500-word article on football icon Brett Favre’s disgusting efforts to pillage the Mississippi state welfare fund of millions of dollars in order to get a volleyball court built for his alma mater—which just so happens to be the school where Favre’s daughter attends and play volleyball.
NB: the Brett Favre scandal demonstrates that the poor don’t matter either! A google search—and I am not suggesting that this search is by any means definitive—suggests that Favre has a net worth of over $100 million. Yet, he allegedly made extensive and prolonged efforts to obtain several million dollars from the welfare fund of the state of Mississippi for a volleyball stadium.
Now, there is nothing wrong with the continued coverage of the apparently criminal activity of Brett Favre. The point is that this issue was first reported almost a month ago. Yet, it continues to receive significant press.
The report on the systemic abuse in women’s soccer is 4 days old and yet, it receives virtually no continuing coverage.
Why? Well, we need to be honest with ourselves: the fact is, women matter very little in this country and they certainly do not matter on the same level as men.
The Church, Women, and Injustice
This should matter to the Church. It must matter. The Church in fact should be leading the way in arguing for reform! The Church should be leading the way in affirming the dignity and the rights of women.
I wrote a series of 14 posts on the Bible, gender, and injustice in the Spring of 2021. In that series of posts, I began by arguing that injustice towards women presents us with some of the greatest issues of injustice in the world.
I noted that women are far more impacted by the global practices of sex-selective abortions and infanticide, forced marriages, being sold into sex trafficking, being denied access to education, and a global culture that promotes women as subordinate to men.
The lack of concern for the abuse of women, which the Yates’ report says is systemic all the way down to the youth level, is one example of a tragic conviction that women are inferior. And, I fear, that this report is merely one example of many yet-to-be-told stories of injustice and abuse toward women.
Women and the Bible
It is my conviction that the very nature of the gospel affirms that Christ has come to restore and redeem His creation. It is my conviction that one of the results of this restoration is that:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).
(for a more complete defense of my position see the series of posts beginning here)
Now, I respect the fact that many of you do not affirm the equality of men and women in the church today.
Nonetheless, all of God’s people affirm that all persons are made in the image of God and are beings of value. Thus, I implore all of the people of God to stand up for the rights of women and to stand against the systemic abuse that they face.
It is my fear that the levels of abuse are far more damning and far more injurious to women and young girls than we have even begun to consider. If we think this ends with the NWSL we are not only mistaken, we are seriously naive.
Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
Rescue the weak and needy;
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked
Learn to do good;
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow
Rise up O’ people of God, Rise up!
I am pleading with the church to lead the way in demanding reform and in transforming the culture—the culture which not only leads to such abuse but shows little concern to do much about it.
The change of culture must begin with the people of God.
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A day after I published this article a new article appeared on ESPN.com today noting that three more allegations of misconduct have been reported since the release of the Yates’ report on Monday.
 This same article disappeared from the ESPN.com homepage while I was writing this post. (the Brett Favre expose is still there!).
 A Google search “nwsl abuse report” showed no current articles. Every article was 3 or more days old.