As the team that failed to bring home gold from Tokyo tries to find a way to get more green, equality does not mean equal, the U.S. women’s national soccer team union argued this week.
Two years after first claiming the women’s team should be paid the same as male players, the United States Women’s National Team Players Association denounced the U.S. Soccer Federation for offering male and female players identical contracts, according to ESPN.
“USSF’s PR stunts and bargaining through the media will not bring us any closer to a fair agreement,” the union tweeted.
“In contrast, we are committed to bargaining in good faith to achieve equal pay and the safest working conditions possible. The proposal that USSF made recently to us does neither.”
USSF’s PR stunts and bargaining through the media will not bring us any closer to a fair agreement. In contrast, we are committed to bargaining in good faith to achieve equal pay and the safest working conditions possible. The proposal that USSF made recently to us does neither. https://t.co/lzchRa0hea
— USWNT Players (@USWNTPlayers) September 15, 2021
The U.S. Soccer communications team fired back.
“An offer on paper of identical contracts to the USWNT and [U.S. Men’s National Team], and to discuss equalizing prize money, is real, authentic and in good faith. A publicity stunt is a 90-minute one-sided movie,” it said, referring to the movie “LFG,” which chronicled the female players’ gripes.
An offer on paper of identical contracts to the USWNT and USMNT, and to discuss equalizing prize money, is real, authentic and in good faith. A publicity stunt is a 90-minute one-sided movie. https://t.co/iCdiiCRYFN
— U.S. Soccer Comms (@ussoccer_comms) September 15, 2021
The two sides have been forced to battle with one another after a federal judge rejected the female players’ claim that they were the victims of discrimination.
Judge R. Gary Klausner said female players could not claim discrimination because they agreed to contracts that were fundamentally different in structure from those of the male players, according to The Washington Post.
Because the women’s contract gave them stable pay and health care instead of more cash per game, Klausner said he believed the women actually made more money per game and overall than male players.
The women appealed the ruling in April, arguing the judge overlooked evidence of direct discrimination.
U.S. Soccer offered the women’s team the same contract as the men several years ago and the women rejected it. This is why they lost their discrimination suit. It’s hard to claim discrimination when you are offered equal pay and reject it. https://t.co/nzvftUkwbr
— Chris Manning (@Manning4USCong) September 15, 2021
Woman’s team forward Alex Morgan hinted that there might be a possibility of breaking the logjam.
“We still need to chat about the statement given by US Soccer. But any commitment to equal pay publicly is good,” Morgan said.
Have claims of discrimination just been a media gimmick for these athletes?
“However, we need to look line by line at what they’re actually providing, because if you have equal but it’s not even what we got before, or to the value that we are, then we still consider that to be not good enough.”
“We will continue to work with U.S. Soccer moving forward, looking towards equal and fair payment and treatment,” she said, according to ESPN.
“We don’t want to start the new year without a new [Collective Bargaining Agreement] in effect, so that’s the number one priority of our PA, of our legal team. Looking at the statements, it’s difficult to say, we want to feel encouraged and we want to be optimistic, but we have seen a lot of statements before. What we really want to do is see what we can do at the negotiation table, see those statements be put into action in those negotiations.”