- US Soccer has officially walked back its argument that the USWNT is inferior in skill to the men’s national team, according to a filing made public on Tuesday.
- In the documents, lawyers for the federation wrote that “USSF no longer disputes that the jobs of the WNT and MNT players require equal skill, effort, and responsibility.”
- The reversal comes after the federation’s previous defence that unequal pay for women is fair because “men are bigger, stronger, faster” came under scrutiny by media, fans, and US Soccer sponsors.
- Eventually, former USSF President Carlos Cordeiro resigned in the face of intense backlash.
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Media, fans, and sponsors slammed US Soccer after they argued that playing for the US Women’s National Team required less skill and ability than playing for the men’s team.
And now, the federation is officially walking back the argument.
New legal filings from the USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit made public on Tuesday – Equal Pay Day – show that US Soccer is conceding its claim that the men and women do not perform equal work. The federation had initially attempted to use this line of reasoning as a means to justify paying the women’s players less than their male counterparts.
“USSF no longer disputes that the jobs of the WNT and MNT players require equal skill, effort, and responsibility – and therefore has necessarily conceded that they perform equal work,” the filing reads. “USSF also does not dispute that the men’s and women’s teams perform their jobs under similar working conditions.”
Here's the snippet for your readers pic.twitter.com/ld6CKvoI8O
— Andy Schwarz (@andyhre) March 31, 2020
The reversal comes after the federation’s previous defence that unequal pay for women is fair because “men are bigger, stronger, faster” came under scrutiny came under fire and prompted an on-field protest from the USWNT.
Players wore their jerseys inside-out to hide the US Soccer crest and sponsorship iconography. Fittingly, the four stars representing the team’s four World Cup victories were still visible through the stitching.
Eventually, the intense backlash precipitated the resignation of former USSF President Carlos Cordeiro, wh0 seemingly backpedaled from the federation’s stance immediately after the team’s protest. As the team was playing its third and final 2020 SheBelieves Cup match, Cordeiro issued a written apology for “the offence and pain” caused by the language used in the federation’s filings in its equal pay lawsuit against the USWNT.
While US Soccer repeatedly argued for the courts to drop the USWNT’s lawsuit altogether, the players on the women’s team requested a summary judgment that would award them $US67 million in damages.
If the two sides do not reach a settlement, they will take the ongoing battle to trial beginning May 5. And from the sounds of it, the team is not particularly keen on relenting on the equal pay front.
“I think it goes in waves,” USWNT players association president Becky Sauerbrunn said after the team’s second 2020 SheBelieves Cup match. “Sometimes we thought we were closer, sometimes further, and sometimes when things that happen [and] you’re like ‘oh, we’re a little bit further.'”
“For us, anything less than equal we couldn’t settle for,” she added.
- Read more:
- US Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro resigned over USWNT equal pay lawsuit backlash – but he’s just a symptom of a larger problem
- Like many pro athletes, NWSL players are in limbo waiting for their season – and they had to get creative to pass the time and stay in shape
- US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro backpedaled quickly after on-field protest from women’s team and apologised for ‘the offence and pain’ caused by equal pay lawsuit
- US Soccer wrote an open letter critical of the USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit on the eve of International Women’s Day, and the team was not happy about it
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