Home / Crimes Against Women / In Fight for Equal Pay, US Women’s Soccer Team Says Olympic Boycott Is ‘On The Table’
FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2016, file photo, United States goalie Hope Solo walks off the field at half time. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2016, file photo, United States goalie Hope Solo walks off the field at half time. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

In Fight for Equal Pay, US Women’s Soccer Team Says Olympic Boycott Is ‘On The Table’

USWNT players still paid as little as 40% of what USMNT players earn

CREDIT: JESSICA HILL, AP
CREDIT: JESSICA HILL, AP

Five of the biggest stars on the reigning World Cup Champion US Women’s National Team (USWNT) filed a federal complaint two weeks ago on behalf of the entire team to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the U.S. Soccer Federation of wage discrimination.

Despite their three World Cup titles, immense popularity, and being dubbed “badasses” by President Obama,  USWNT players are still paid roughly 40% of what the men’s team earns, according to their lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler.

Now, in the continued fight for equal pay, the team is indicating that it is willing to boycott the upcoming Olympics in Brazil if an agreement fails to be reached within a reasonable time frame.

Speaking to ESPN Wednesday, USWNT co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn said that if the financial dispute isn’t settled by July, boycotting the Olympics would “still be on the table.”

We are reserving every right to do so, and we’re leaving every avenue open. And if nothing has changed and we don’t feel real progress has been made, then that is a conversation we are going to have,” she said.

Carli Lloyd, also one of the five plaintiffs, highlighted the team’s solidarity and full willingness to sit out in Rio in a New York Times op-ed Sunday, saying “when I joined four teammates in filing a wage-discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer late last month, it had nothing to do with how much I love to play for my country.”

It had everything to do with what’s right and what’s fair, and with upholding a fundamental American concept: equal pay for equal play.

Even if you are female.

Simply put, we’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens. It wears on you after a while. And we are done with it.

The United States women’s national team is the most successful team in the history of U.S. Soccer. We’ve won three World Cups and will try to win our fifth Olympic gold medal this summer in Brazil. When we captured the Women’s World Cup title in Canada in July, we drew the highest American television rating for soccer in history and, according to a financial report published by U.S. Soccer last month, helped generate $17.7 million in profit for the federation.

Lloyd then goes onto note that nearly every facet of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s financial operations – from travel expenses to public appearance compensation to performance bonuses – carry with it an inherent inequality for its female team, despite the women’s team being vastly more profitable than its male counterparts.

“Our beef is not with the men’s national team” writes Lloyd, “we love those guys, and we support those guys. It’s with the federation, and its history of treating us as if we should be happy that we are professional players and not working in the kitchen or scrubbing the locker room.”

As Injustice.in previously noted, money is not the only issue USWNT has with the U.S. Soccer Federation; they have frequently been subjected to sub-par playing conditions on the field and are in the middle of a collective bargaining agreement with the Federation that appears to be permanently stalled.

It is clear at this point that the dispute between USWNT and the Federation is not merely about money, but the respect and appreciation for all that they contribute internationally to American athletics.

We shouldn’t be having this conversation still in 2016, yet here we are.

Compensate them. Equal pay for equal play.

It isn’t that difficult.

About Adam Ciminello

Entrepreneurship, Social Justice, and the idea of Bono never performing again are all things that excite me. And yes, my grandma is cooler than yours. Say hi sometime on twitter @Aciminello

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