Despite A New U.S. Soccer Overture, Differences Remain
A Quick Film Review
So...the continuing issue of equal pay within U.S. Soccer - the national governing body for the men's and women's national teams - resurfaced publicly today with an offer by the office to serve both teams an equal contract.
A win? Well....let's revisit how we got here through a look at this summer's LFG, documenting the multi-year effort by the women's team (USWNT) to receive equal pay to the USMNT.
There's the essence of LFG, as the production speaks with both team members (notably Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O'Hara, Jessica McDonald, and Sam Mewis), and legal & PR representatives as they navigate the proceedings.
It's a compelling argument. Simply put, the USWMNT is paid less than the USMNT, even despite comparative over-performance. LFG presents an entirely empathetic view toward the USWMNT's plight, aided by the absence of direct U.S. Soccer contribution (a disclaimer notes the federation declined comment). Any discussion of U.S. Soccer's position is examined through the plaintiff's interpretation of the federation's often ham-handed public posturing and court actions.
It's a good watch. And will pull you toward the USWNT cause...and cause wonder at what strategy U.S. Soccer is really employing. By the end of the film, taking us into early 2020, the equal pay argument in the lawsuit is dismissed (with an appeal pending) but an equal treatment portion proceeds.
Cut to yesterday, and U.S. Soccer announces an offer of equal pay contracts. The catch, of course there is one, is that for USWMNT pay to rise, USMNT pay will need to drop...a condition that is hard to envision the USMNT accepting. And the ball now is back in the USWNT's court. Of course, a real win for the women is for rate-of-pay to rise up to the men's level - without the men dropping.
U.S. Soccer is also passing the buck a bit by shifting the root of pay discrepancy to the bonus discrepancy offered by FIFA (the international federation). True, FIFA doles out more money for the men, but how each national body (like U.S. Soccer) distributes that is up to each body.
Regardless, there doesn't seem to be any immediate thawing of positions, at least in public, with tit-for-tat announcements on social media.
Sigh. In any case...can't we all just get along? And agree to pay everyone what they agree they deserve? Not sure we'll see the end soon.