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Volume 26 No. 203
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USWNT Still Hopes To Resolve Suit Despite Mediation Breakdown

Rapinoe admitted that the players' lawsuit eventually going to trial is a possibility
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Rapinoe admitted that the players' lawsuit eventually going to trial is a possibility
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Rapinoe admitted that the players' lawsuit eventually going to trial is a possibility
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

USWNT Fs Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press made the rounds on the network morning shows today responding to the breakdown in mediation talks with the U.S. Soccer Federation over their gender discrimination lawsuit, with Rapinoe saying when the USSF is "ready to have a serious conversation about equal pay, I think the conversations will go better." Rapinoe said, "We didn't feel like they were there or willing to go there." Press was asked about what the "sticking point" is in the negotiations and said, “Unfortunately, it was just the concept of paying us equally. We never even got past that." Press said the USWNT needs an "actual pay structure moving forward where we're being compensated equally." She added, "We'll never achieve, as women, any type of social equality without financial equality and we're looking for equal pay, not any talking about it any longer." Rapinoe admitted having the suit go to trial is “definitely a possibility,” though she added, "We're always open to hearing that conversation if they're ready to have it." She added, "I don't think anybody wants to go to litigation, but with that said we're very confident in our case" (“Today,” NBC, 8/15). Rapinoe said at any point when the USSF is "willing and ready to come and have a serious talk about equal pay, we’re always willing to listen to that” (“CBS This Morning,” 8/15). When asked what the plan would be if the players lose at trial, Press said, “You’re asking the wrong people, 'What if we lose?'" (“GMA,” ABC, 8/15). The Guardian's Beau Dure asked, "So when does Cordeiro go on the morning shows? Or Cindy Cone? Or Dan Flynn? Or Jay Berhalter? Not saying it's a good idea. Might hurt their case in court of public opinion. But it'd be good to hear them beyond the rare stone tablet handed down from Chicago" (TWITTER.com, 8/15).

HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF: USWNT F Tobin Heath, before yesterday's development, said the fight for equal has always been "synonymous" with the women's team. She added, "Through systematic discrimination, it's built up to this point. It's not like it has happened overnight. It's been going on forever." Heath: "If winning the last two World Cups were just to get to this moment in history where we can stand up for everyone and say everyone should be treated equally and respected equally in the workplace, then that's what are our lives and this fight is about" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/15). USWNT D Crystal Dunn earlier this week said, "This fight isn’t just for us. It’s for women across the board, in all avenues, all aspects of life." She added, "I feel like this cry has been heard for so long, but no one’s been really acting on it. Us filing a lawsuit was our way of saying, ‘We’re tired of talking, we’re tired of complaining or tweeting. Now it’s about actions being taken'" (USA TODAY, 8/15). 

PUT IN WRITING: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rachel Bachman reports a USWNT player on Monday emailed the USSF BOD a letter signed by all 28 players that "lays out the history of the women’s pay complaints" against the federation going back to '99 and "calls on the board to take action." The letter "details more extensively than ever before the players’ account of how they came to sue their governing body." It describes "'grueling months' of negotiations over" their current CBA, and a "parallel attempt to seek better pay and working conditions from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with which five players filed a complaint against" USSF in spring '16. The letter said that the EEOC "asked the federation, player representatives and the players’ association to attempt to mediate the players’ EEOC complaint," but the USSF "refused to even make an offer of equality." The letter notes that "after filing suit, the players reached out several times to Cordeiro in hopes of resolving the equal-pay dispute before the World Cup." The sides "couldn’t agree on terms for a meeting and never got together." The letter also "refers to the fact that several lawmakers have proposed legislation to address the equal-pay issue" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/15).