KANSAS CITY, KS – OCTOBER 22: A general view of the soccer balls on field with the NWSL logo before a game between NJ/NY Gotham City FC and Kansas City at Legends Field on October 22, 2021 in Kansas City, Kansas. Mandatory credit: Denny Medley/ISI Photos via Imagn

The next edition of ESPN’s E60 investigative series brings the spotlight to last fall in the NWSL, which was more notable for what happened off the pitch than on it.

In Truth Be Told – The Fight For Women’s Professional Soccer, ESPN takes a deep dive into “allegations of abuse, sexual coercion and a toxic work environment” across the NWSL. Those allegations resulted in NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigning, along with five head coaches and several other team executives losing their jobs.

Here’s a trailer for Truth Be Told, which is presented by ESPN’s Lisa Salters.

And here’s a blurb about the episode from ESPN’s release.

In the Fall of 2021, the entire league was in crisis. Coaches and executives had been fired or let go in alarming numbers. The commissioner resigned. The owner of one of the marquee franchises, the reigning titleholder, was forced to sell controlling interest of the team. Games were cancelled. Players had no collective bargaining agreement and the specter of a cancelled season loomed, all while governing bodies opened investigations into misconduct and toxic work environments.

This was the reality of the NWSL after explosive allegations of abuse, sexual harassment, and unrelenting coercion by one of the NWSL’s most successful head coaches set off a reckoning for the entire league. And that was just the beginning.

In its investigation, E60 looks at the roots of those allegations, the crises they sparked for the NWSL, and the future of the league. Through a series of in-depth interviews, reporter Lisa Salters presents an unflinching look at one of the most sobering episodes of abuse and mismanagement in recent sports history.

As players around the league push for unprecedented change, Truth Be Told asks if the current crises will serve as a major turning point, altering the landscape of women’s professional soccer. There is hope. But will there be accountability?

Several current and former players were interviewed, including Mana Shim, Alex Morgan, and Kaiya McCullough. Baird and former Washington Spirit head coach Richie Burke, one of those who was fired last fall, also talk on camera for the first time since their dismissals. Others interviewed include US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone, former US Soccer president Sunil Gulati, NWSLPA executive director Meghann Burke, and NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman.

Like many episodes of E60, this one seems like it’s going to be a tough, but essential, watch.

Truth Be Told premieres on Tuesday, October 4th at 7 PM ET on ESPN and will be available to stream on ESPN+.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.