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Volume 26 No. 207
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Megan Rapinoe Says It Is Time To Mediate Equal Pay Lawsuit

Rapinoe said that the USSF is now "in a unique position to ride this wave of good fortune"
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Rapinoe said that the USSF is now "in a unique position to ride this wave of good fortune"
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Rapinoe said that the USSF is now "in a unique position to ride this wave of good fortune"
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

USWNT F Megan Rapinoe said it is "time" to mediate the team's lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation over equal pay, as "everybody's ready for it," according to Anne Peterson of the AP. Rapinoe said, "We've put this whole movement on our back and done so, so beautifully, the entire team. I think the conversation deserves to be moved to the next step, and I think everybody's ready for it and excited for it" (AP, 7/8). Rapinoe, on how the USWNT's second-straight and fourth overall World Cup title will impact the USSF in negotiating the lawsuit, said, "Well, it's not good for them, is it?" Rapinoe: "We had a case no matter what, but this sort of blows it out of the water. It's like, is it even about that anymore or is it just about doing the right thing? I think the federation is in a unique position to ride this wave of good fortune, get on board and hopefully make things better for the future" (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 7/8). More Rapinoe: "The conversation needs to move from are we worth it or should we have equal pay. What can we do now? How can FIFA support the federations? How can the federations support their players better?" ("GMA," ABC, 7/9). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan wrote if one was going to "devise a strategy for this team to get to the bargaining table with maximum leverage, what happened over the last four weeks would be it, exactly" (USATODAY.com, 7/8).

PAST TIME FOR EQUAL PAY: USA TODAY's Nancy Armour writes the USSF has "done more to support its women's team than any other federation," but there is "more it can -- and should -- do." It will do USSF "no good to be portrayed as nickel-and-diming its World Cup champions while the rest of the county is showering them with love" (USA TODAY, 7/9). In Boston, Shirley Leung writes the USWNT has "made history with four World Cup victories." Now, it is "time for the athletes' employer" to "get on the right side of history" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/9). In DC, Eugene Robinson writes the USWNT should be "paid more" than the USMNT. Robinson: "A lot more. If the field of sports is truly a meritocracy, there should be no argument about value or compensation" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/9). In Miami, Michelle Kaufman writes the pay issue is "complicated because prize money is related to revenue generated, and the Women's World Cup is still far behind the men's tournament." But when it "comes to national-team salaries, bonuses, sponsorship, promotion, and training costs, the U.S. women have every right to demand the same as (if not more than) the U.S. men, who failed to qualify for the last World Cup" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/9).

WHAT THEY'RE THINKING: A NEWSDAY editorial states there is "a lot to celebrate" during tomorrow's "ticker tape parade in Manhattan." But it is "past time that U.S. officials treat women equitably" (NEWSDAY, 7/9). A N.Y. TIMES editorial was written under the header, "Show Them The Money." The USSF is "making a statement about America by treating those women as second-class citizens." The federation now "has an opportunity to make a very different statement by rectifying the situation" (NYTIMES.com, 7/8). A WASHINGTON POST editorial stated the USSF "needs to listen to its female players and close this unforgivable gap" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/8). A S.F. CHRONICLE editorial cartoon weighs in on the USWNT and their pay gap lawsuit (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/9).

NUMBERS GAME: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rachel Bachman writes nearly everyone "agrees that prize money for the women's tournament should also increase." The sale of broadcast rights "helps drive the value of the World Cup." But FIFA "bundles the sale of the rights to the men's and Women's World Cups, making it difficult to discern the value of each tournament." The '18 men's World Cup drew a "global audience of nearly 3.6 billion," while the women's "drew an estimated 1.1 billion." One way to "gauge prize money could be TV viewership." If one "divides total prize money by global viewership," the '18 World Cup's prize money "came out to about 11 cents per viewer." If FIFA had applied the "same rate in this women's tournament, this year's prize money would have been" nearly $112M rather than the $30M actually awarded. A FIFA spokesperson said that such "comparisons are unfair and misleading because of the tournament's different scales -- the men had 64 matches in 12 stadiums, the women 52 in nine stadiums" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/9). In N.Y., Rich Lowry writes the equal-pay complaint is "almost entirely bunk." The women's game is not as "popular or profitable, which fundamentally drives pay" (N.Y. POST, 7/9).

COLLABORATIVE EFFORT: In N.Y., Andrew Das noted the women winning their World Cup and the men losing in the Concacaf Gold Cup final on Sunday was "not a mere collision of games: they also highlighted a contentious battle about pay equality featuring the men's teams and women's teams, the different media and financial ecosystems in which they compete, and the often unequal rewards for success for male and female athletes." The USWNT players' "best hope to close a significant compensation gap may be to exploit their soaring profile away from the field." When the team "negotiated its new contracts" in '17, it "carved out some marketing rights that in previous decades were either granted to the federation or merely left unexplored." Those have now "proven quite valuable" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/9). A USA TODAY editorial states the USWNT should "know that they are more allies of the menfolk than rivals." Their two fans bases "can support each other and feed off each other to create an American brand of soccer that is growing and vibrant and where the women's side is at least as important." Women's soccer "will prosper in part by tapping into fans of the men's game, who tend to be younger, more female and more open to women's sports than fans of, say, football." Once the pay issue is "properly resolved, the USA men's and women's teams, as well as representatives of the two domestic leagues, should consider doing joint promotional efforts" (USA TODAY, 7/9).

MAKING THEIR STAND: The AP's David Crary writes individual athletes have "risked their careers in the past by taking political stances." However, it is "difficult to think of another high-profile U.S. team sticking its neck out, in the run-up to its most important competition, the way the women's soccer team did by suing the USSF" (AP, 7/9). In Chicago, Rick Morrissey writes the USWNT "clearly felt a responsibility to raise concerns they felt needed to be dragged into the bright light of the World Cup," as they "only get that chance every four years" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/9). In Boston, Tara Sullivan writes the Women's World Cup championship game did not "feel like the simple end of a compelling tournament, but the beginning of a new chapter for women's sports equality" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/9).