News and Commentary

U.S. Women’s Soccer Sued Over Alleged Gender Pay Discrimination; Judge: Nope. Rapinoe Responds.
Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States with pink hair warms up for the 2020 SheBelieves Cup match between United States and Spain sponsored by Visa. The match took place at Red Bull Arena on March 08, 2020 in Harrison, NJ, USA.
Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

On Friday, a judge dismissed the U.S. women’s national soccer team’s legal claim that they are paid less than men due to gender discrimination.

“U.S. District Judge R Gary Klausner said he would not allow the equal pay allegations to go forward because the women’s national team previously ‘rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure’ as the men’s national team,” CBS News reported Friday evening.

The women’s team was seeking $66 million under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the outlet noted.

“The WNT was willing to forgo higher bonuses for benefits, such as greater base compensation and the guarantee of a higher number of contracted players,” Judge Klausner wrote in the decision. “Accordingly, plaintiffs cannot now retroactively deem their CBA (collective bargaining agreement) worse than the MNT (men’s national team) CBA by reference to what they would have made had they been paid under the MNT’s pay-to-play terms structure when they themselves rejected such a structure.”

The team is allowed to move forward with other allegations of discrimination, the judge said.

Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the USWNT, said Friday night via Twitter that the fight for alleged gender pay equality moves forward.

“We are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay,” she wrote. “We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender.”

“We have learned that there are tremendous obstacles to change; we know that it takes bravery and courage and perseverance to stand up to them. We will appeal and press on,” Levinson added. “Words cannot express our gratitude to all who support us.”

Media darling, standout U.S. women’s forward, and occasional national anthem protester Megan Rapinoe responded Friday night, as well, posting: “We will never stop fighting for EQUALITY.”

As outlined by The Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow this summer, gender discrimination is not the reason the women’s soccer team earns less than the men’s team; instead, it’s simply due to the women’s team earning less money than the men’s team.

“The main reason women soccer players aren’t paid as much as men is due to the fact that there is simply less interest from viewers,” Schow explained. “The lower interest results in less money brought in from advertisers and revenue to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).”

“When women’s soccer came to Fox Sports, it averaged about 63,000 viewers, while the men’s team regularly brings in 240,000 viewers per game at ESPN,” she highlighted. “This changes when the women’s team is in the World Cup. Views at that time rival that of the men’s team — but just for that short period.”

“The lower viewership leads to lower revenue,” wrote Schow. “The Washington Post reported in 2015 (while trying to blame sexism) that women’s soccer only brought in $17 million in ad sponsorship for Fox Sports, while the men’s final in 2014 brought ESPN $529 million in ad revenue. Further, the men’s World Cup generated $4.5 billion in direct revenue to FIFA.”

In fact, the women’s team “gets a higher percentage of revenue than the men’s team,” added Schow, “yet they neglect to include this fact when complaining about how little they got in bonuses. CBS reported four years ago that the men’s team received 9% of the revenue generated by the 2010 World Cup — which amounted to $348 million. The women’s team received 13% of the 2015 World Cup revenue, but because the women’s team brought in less revenue, they only received $10 million.”

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