In court documents filed on Monday, the federation claimed gender discrimination has nothing to do with why the USWNT is paid less than the USMNT and supremely contradicted itself.
The International Women's Day this past weekend marked a year since the United States women's national soccer team filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. However, the two sides are now further than ever from an agreement regarding equal pay as the USSF now argues that the male soccer players carry "more responsibility within U.S. Soccer" than their female counterparts. In court documents filed on Monday, the federation claimed gender discrimination has nothing to do with why the USWNT is paid less than the USMNT while at the same contradicting itself with the archaic responsibility argument.
According to PEOPLE, in the lawsuit—which was filed in Los Angeles federal court under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act—all 28 players on the USWNT claim that they are not paid equally to the men’s national players. The players which include Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd, and Megan Rapinoe, also allege they have experienced "institutionalized gender discrimination," despite having the same job responsibilities. In addition to seeking equal pay and treatment, the female athletes are also asking to be awarded over $66 million in damages.
People doubted earlier that US Soccer was actually arguing that women are inherently inferior to men as part of the federation's attempt to prove it isn't discriminating against the USWNT based on gender.— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) March 10, 2020
So here are some court filing excerpts where they do just that: pic.twitter.com/1XzNTFfxiO
However, outlining new arguments as to why the USWNT is paid less than the USMNT, the U.S. Soccer Federation argued on Monday that "the job of a [men's national team player] carries more responsibility within US Soccer than the job of a [women's national team] player." Responding to the poster-child-for-gender-discrimination-of-a-statement, a spokesperson for the women's team said: "This ridiculous ‘argument’ belongs in the Paleolithic Era. It sounds as if it has been made by a caveman. Literally everyone in the world understands that an argument that male players ‘have more responsibility’ is just plain simple sexism and illustrates the very gender discrimination that caused us to file this lawsuit to begin with. So looking forward to trial on May 5."
Easy prediction: This US Soccer Federation stance won't age well at [i]all[/i] https://t.co/fnTxs0eErr— John Holden (@thejohnholden) March 11, 2020
Digging itself deeper into a hole, the federation also claimed that "the job of MNT player requires a higher level of skill-based on speed and strength than does the job of WNT player." Does the federation realize that this is the 21st century and that its female athletes are four-time World Cup champions? It's possible the USSF is stuck in a long-forgotten era because it also claims that the men's teams experience more of a hostile crowd at home games, which makes the USMNT have a "substantially different job." My eyes cannot roll any further back into their sockets.
While these archaic arguments are weaker than Donald Trump's "fake news" allegations, U.S. Soccer lawyers further claimed it is "indisputable science" to "recognize the different levels of speed and strength required for the two jobs" and not a "sexist stereotype." Is it now, Chad? IS IT?! These new sorry-excuses-of-arguments came just days after the US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro released an open letter via Twitter that said the federation offered "identical compensation to our women's and men's players for all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer."
U.S. Soccer has offered a proposal for equal pay for our women and men players in all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer.— Carlos Cordeiro (@CACSoccer) March 7, 2020
We look forward to discussing our proposal with the WNT and to resolving this in the best interest of everyone involved. pic.twitter.com/c3xZ3AtnT7
The letter—which was released mere hours before International Women’s Day and the USWNT’s SheBelieves Cup game against Spain by the way—was strongly condemned by USWNT spokesperson Molly Levinson who claimed that it was "riddled with falsehoods." Levinson also stated that the timing indicates "that it is more important to USSF to diminish the women’s team than it is to support them on the field." She further asserted that the federation "did not and has never offered equal pay to the women players."
According to Business Insider, USWNT players also responded to the letter after their 1-0 win over Spain in their second of three SheBelieves Cup games. "The timing of it, on the eve of not only a game but in this tournament and on the eve of international women’s day – If that’s how you want to celebrate international women’s day and show support for not only your players but for potential future players and girls all over the place, that’s one way to do it," said Megan Rapinoe. "Once again, it’s disappointing to see that stance from the federation. But personally, from Carlos [Cordeiro], I think it shows the distance between us on some issues and, as our statement said, not all of it was true."