MLS, USL Can’t Stay Silent on Villa Sexual Harassment
The issue of sexual harassment is not taken seriously enough in the world, and it is evident in the world of sport. Over and over again, these stories keep coming back and little is done to address the root problem. These allegations against David Villa are worrying to say the least. On top of that, […]

The issue of sexual harassment is not taken seriously enough in the world, and it is evident in the world of sport. Over and over again, these stories keep coming back and little is done to address the root problem. These allegations against David Villa are worrying to say the least. On top of that, it is not an isolated incident. It just highlights the extent to which sexual misconduct plays out in the world of sports.

The allegations against Villa come from Skyler Badillo, a former New York City FC (NYCFC) intern. She said his history to Pablo Maurer from Athletic. In it, she describes in detail the harassment and downright disgusting behavior of Villa and others associated with the NYCFC.

"[Villa] got up and put her hands on my hips and kind of pressed me against the counter where I was standing and whispered, into my ear, that I "have to watch out for the men in town" " , she told Maurer.

There were other club members who were aware of the unwanted advances. According to a report by Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, a woman, who did not specify whether or not Badillo in the article, alleged that Villa harassed her almost daily. As Carlisle writes, "Rarely a day went by that Villa did not 'catch or verbally harass me but never bothered to learn my name'.

Villa denies any wrongdoing.

NYCFC Inquiry

David Villa celebrates scoring a goal against DC United. (Image credits: Adam Hunger, USA Today Sports)

An investigation by NYCFC and an outside law firm found the results "inappropriate and unacceptable." According to the article, Villa was never mentioned by name in the report. Of those who were found guilty of misconduct, only one was still in the organization and was punished. The nature of the disciplinary action was not disclosed to ESPN, according to the Carlisle report.

Villa has since retired from the game.

The question now is, what are the next steps?

MLS and USL cannot remain silent

The simple answer is that MLS cannot remain silent on the matter.

It's imperative. The world of sport needs to take a firm stand on this. MLS has the opportunity to be a leader here.

With that, there is the same question regarding USL.

Villa is a minority owner of Queensboro FC, an expansion team set to start in 2022. The league has yet to make a statement on this. In fact, their response is more critical than that of MLS due to Villa's current involvement. USL's response will show how much this really matters to the league. I am not an expert in this matter so I don't know what course of action should be taken. If that's the reason you're reading this column, you've come to the wrong place. I can only state the obvious. If nothing changes, then it will only be the polluted water under the bridge of the sports world.

Follow me on twitter @AMFKristensen. Find my other works here.

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