This blew up last week and it's worth talking about- not just because I'm a soccer fan, but because in the tiresome debate about equal pay (the left says, reasonably that women should be paid the same as men for equal work. The right says with that slightly irrational but not entirely unreasonable complaint- that hey, why do women in your White House earn less than men in your White House does? And so on and so forth) no matter what side you come down on, this specific complaint shouldn't even be up for discussion.
To whit, five members of the USWNT filed a federal discrimination complaint alleging that U.S. Soccer has illegally and unfairly paid them less than their male counterparts. Now, before you get on your shitty sexist high horse about 'women's sports' let's consider the fact that the USWNT is more successful and brings in more revenue than their male counterparts- the article from Bloomberg View breaks down the numbers nicely- but gets paid four times less.
The Women's Team has been at loggerheads with U.S. Soccer for much of the year. Between the controversy over being forced to play the World Cup on turf and U.S Soccer's continued insistence on still playing on turf- despite the fact that the quality of the playing surfaces has caused injuries before and most recently to midfielder Megan Rapinoe this past December. U.S Soccer also continued the good cheer by filing a lawsuit against their own Women's National Team over the lack of a collective bargaining agreement in February- needless to say, the USWNT Players Association wasn't all that impressed by the lawsuit.
Former men's star Landon Donovan sort of stepped in it and the internet jumped up and down on his head for saying that he was "not for equal pay, I'm for fair pay." But even that sentiment doesn't excuse paying a vastly more successful team four times less than their male counterparts. Three World Cups, four Olympic Titles and four times less than the men's team? Come on now: if it looks like bullshit, smells like bullshit, well then, shit- it must actually be bullshit.
I'm working on finding an MLS Team- because I do think it's important to support your domestic league- even if you like teams from other leagues- but let me just take a stand here:
The US Women's National Team deserves equal pay and I support their fight to get it.
And you know what? You gotta put the rubber to the road at some point and do more than say something- so if you're a soccer fan reading this, get on over to the NWSL website and find yourself a team. Totally at random and mainly due to their close geographical location to Iowa, I settled on a team: FC Kansas City, you've got a new fan!