USWNT lawsuit against USSF for getting paid less than USMNT

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Jazzy Altidore, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. Jazzy Altidore

    Jazzy Altidore Member+

    Sep 2, 2009
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Is it truly the case that there is no thread on this topic? It actually required me to bring this to the board's attention?
     
  2. Jazzy Altidore

    Jazzy Altidore Member+

    Sep 2, 2009
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This topic is uncomfortable for many regulars to be sure. I look forward to the pretzel logic and justifications to come.

    Here's the intro from the complaint.

    NATURE OF THE ACTION

    1. The United States Soccer Federation, Inc. (“USSF”) is the single, common employer of female and male professional soccer players who play on the United States Senior Women’s National Soccer Team (“WNT”) and the United States Senior Men’s National Soccer Team (“MNT”). Despite the fact that these female and male players are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities on their teams and participate in international competitions for their single common employer, the USSF, the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts. This is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players – with the female players, in contrast to male players, becoming world champions.

    2. The USSF has claimed that its mission is to “promote and govern soccer in the United States in order to make it the preeminent sport recognized for excellence in participation, spectator appeal, international competitions and gender equality.” (Emphasis added.) In reality, the USSF has utterly failed to promote gender equality. It has stubbornly refused to treat its female employees who are members of the WNT equally to its male employees who are members of the MNT. The USSF, in fact, has admitted that it pays its female player employees less than its male player employees and has gone so far as to claim that “market realities are such that the women do not deserve to be paid equally to the men.” The USSF admits to such purposeful gender discrimination even during times when the WNT earned more profit, played more games, won more games, earned more championships, and/or garnered higher television audiences.

    3. During his 2017 campaign for president of the USSF, current President Carlos Cordeiro, who had been a member of the USSF’s Board of Directors since 2007 and Vice President of the USSF from 2016 to February 2018, admitted, “Our women’s teams should be respected and valued as much as our men’s teams, but our female players have not been treated equally.” The USSF, however, has paid only lip service to gender equality and continues to practice gender-based discrimination against its champion female employees on the WNT in comparison to its less successful male employees on the MNT.

    4. This collective and class action is brought by current female employees of the USSF who play on the WNT for violations of the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) et seq., and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”), on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated current and former WNT players who the USSF has subjected to its continuing policies and practices of gender discrimination. The USSF discriminates against Plaintiffs, and the class that they seek to represent, by paying them less than members of the MNT for substantially equal work and by denying them at least equal playing, training, and travel conditions; equal promotion of their games; equal support and development for their games; and other terms and conditions of employment equal to the MNT.

    5. This action seeks an end to the USSF’s discriminatory practices, and an award to make Plaintiffs and the class whole, as well as to provide for liquidated and punitive damages and all other appropriate relief.
     
  3. butters59

    butters59 Member+

    Feb 22, 2013
    No, you aren't required either.
     
  4. Jazzy Altidore

    Jazzy Altidore Member+

    Sep 2, 2009
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    "The same job responsibilities"

    Herein lies the lie. The job responsibilities are not the same. The men play and compete in a separate, more elite competition, which not only attracts more economic value, but is also a competition in which the women would not be fit for employment. There is no truth to the Plaintiffs' allegation
     
    RalleeMonkey and nowherenova repped this.
  5. Jazzy Altidore

    Jazzy Altidore Member+

    Sep 2, 2009
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You really got me on that one. This is like when the NY Times takes a couple days to report on the latest Venezuela outrage because they need to massage it for the audience.
     
  6. Jazzy Altidore

    Jazzy Altidore Member+

    Sep 2, 2009
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So, should Megan Rapinoe make as much as Christian Pulisic?
     
  7. Lookingforleftbacks

    Galaxy
    United States
    Dec 17, 2016
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I really don’t know how to feel about this. On one hand, I believe women should be paid as much as men and, in the world in general, it’s not even close. On the other hand, the speed and difference in ability between the men and the women is vast and thus more people enjoy watching the men. That means higher ratings, more advertising revenue, more merchandise, etc.

    I’m just going to stay out of it. I’m not really sure why we as fans should care. I don’t think it should really affect the way we watch or what happens on the field. I’ll keep supporting both teams
     
  8. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    I think the best comparisons is: how does the USWNT compare to the USMNT in terms of attendance and TV viewership.

    If they’re close then equal (national team) pay is merited. If they’re not, then it’s not.
     
    tomásbernal repped this.
  9. Lookingforleftbacks

    Galaxy
    United States
    Dec 17, 2016
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Legally, I’m not sure it will come down to that. I’m not a lawyer or even very familiar with the law, but it may come down to they are both training, both traveling and playing in games, both “working,” but not making the same money or getting the same benefits.

    It seems like this has been a distraction for the women for some time and I’m not sure it’s the best thing for this to come out right before the World Cup, but it was going to happen some time. Maybe it will unite them and they will start playing better.
     
  10. sakibomb523

    sakibomb523 Member+

    Oct 13, 2009
    Orange County
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Attendance is probably equal for most matches. But when the USMNT plays game against the Brazils, Argentina, etc. that triumphs anything the USWNT does.

    In terms of TV revenue, doesn't the host country make TV deals around the world? So like that friendly game against Brazil in September. The USSF sold tv rights not only locally but to Brazil, the rest of South America, and I'm assuming BEIN or somebody in Europe/Middle East/Asia also bought the rights since its Brazi afterall. I doubt the She Believes Cup is generating much TV revenue around the world. Unless there's some degenerate gambling parlor in Macau paying for those. That game alone generates more revenue/payout than a bunch of USWNT games combined together.
     
  11. Bite o' the Cherry

    May 3, 2006
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This forum is titled "USA Men..."

    One viewpoint in favor of the women's argument, to me anyway, is that the national team represents the country, whereas club teams do not. Thus, compensation should not be based entirely on revenue, but also seen as part of promoting the game nationally in general and specifically for our girls at all levels.
     
    Bruce S repped this.
  12. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    Any idea what the domestic TV ratings are? IIRC, didn’t the women’s team have higher ratings at one point?
     
  13. kickin365

    kickin365 Member

    Mar 4, 2002
    Equal pay is good, I am all for it. However the women’s team I would think should have to be willing to give up the guaranteed contracts that they hold as essentially full time USSF employees, if the goal is equal.

    Presumably they are not wanting to give that up, otherwise this would be a CBA situation not a lawsuit.

    Yes the men’s team players get paid more per game but there is no guarantee that you will get called in and therefore paid, it’s a vastly different structure the teams agreed to.

    The full time situation is for obvious reasons in that the women’s professional game struggles to pay the bills, and the federation wants to make sure our best players are motivated, I get that. So at what point does equal pay become responsible for fixing the broader economics of compensation in women’s professional soccer versus men’s, which goes far beyond the reach of the USSF as an employer.
     
  14. kickin365

    kickin365 Member

    Mar 4, 2002
    World Cup semifinals and finals will do that. Even those games were not much above say USA Belgium. The rest of the time, which is the vast majority of cases, it swings the other way, in some cases by wide margins. However outside of world cups ratings in general are relatively weak for both so not sure how much it matters anyway.
     
  15. jond

    jond Member+

    Sep 28, 2010
    On My Squatty Potty
    Club:
    Levski Sofia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    https://www.cbssports.com/soccer/ne...-the-u-s-womens-national-team-in-a-scrimmage/

    Our U17's also whooped them 8-2.

    Players who will never even sign a 1st team pro contract absolutely dominate against the best women in the world. This isn't USA centric. The Aus U17's beat their WNT 7-0.

    Yet many of these WNT players get paid hundreds of thousands by the USSF to cover NWSL salaries while these kids who are actually superior players don't get a dime from the same Fed. Where's the equality in that.

    There's actually more inequality in the pay structure of the women's game here where the WNT gets lofty salaries and the rest of the NWSL gets peanuts. That creates a small pool of subsidized WNT players who receive preference for callups as the Fed isn't going to endorse not calling in players they're paying/subsidizing.

    This is not like the regular work force where if you have two top neurosurgeons, whether male or female salaries should be similar. In that scenario they're actually doing the same work.

    Do the women really want true equality and to enter the global economy the way the men have to? To be stripped of their USSF subsidized NWSL salaries, leave friends and family and battle overseas thru Euro academies to chase the real money once their USSF safety blanket which the men don't have disappears?
     
  16. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    Why do they need to be paid equally to promote?
     
  17. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    One thing I don't understand is the merit of suing. The women are free to negotiate their terms aren't they? If they want better terms couldn't they simply negotiate them or go on strike?
     
  18. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    Jond

    If the USSF makes as much off of the USWNT as they do the USMNT in attendance and TV ratings*, shouldn’t they be paid equally? This seems totally different than (1) the LPGAs silly claims - both their attendance and TV eating pale in comparison to the PGA and (2) league salaries which deserve the gap.

    * TBF, that’s a big if.
     
  19. Editor In Chimp

    Editor In Chimp Member+

    Sep 7, 2008
    Unless the revenues generated are equal I don’t see how there’s any merit to this suit, optics aside.
     
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  20. HouseofCards

    HouseofCards Member

    Nov 26, 2012
    USSF doesn't make money from World Cup TV ratings, FIFA does and then disperses part of that money as prize money. So while the USWNT drew the highest rated game in US Soccer history, USSF didn't profit from those eyeballs (at least not directly).
     
  21. thedukeofsoccer

    thedukeofsoccer Member+

    Jul 11, 2004
    Youtube: Jimmy Dore, Secular Talk
    Club:
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It will be thrown out as frivolous, unless politics gets in the way.
     
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  22. schrutebuck

    schrutebuck Member+

    Jul 26, 2007
    In the court of public opinion, the women should shamelessly exploit all of the anti-USSF arguments (some justified, some not) that people in forums like Bigsoccer, including some posters in this thread, have generated in the last few years.

    TBH, if the men generate more money than the women, then I'm cool with subsidizing the women's national team, especially given how much less sustainable women's soccer leagues have unfortunately been in the U.S.
     
  23. largegarlic

    largegarlic Member+

    Jul 2, 2007
    Yeah, initially I was thinking that the men should get more if they bring in more, but upon further reflection, I'd be OK with the women getting equal (or greater) bonuses for international play. Most men who are good enough to be USMNT regulars at this point are making at least a couple hundred thousand per year and don't need the national team bonuses to get by.

    I have no idea if these numbers are accurate, but some quick googling indicated that the highest profile women (Rapinoe, Morgan, etc.) might be making several hundred thousand, but the players in the bottom half of the national team roster might only be making $60-70k in the NWSL, so an extra couple thousand in NT bonuses might be really meaningful for them.
     
    schrutebuck repped this.
  24. NGV

    NGV Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    This objectively accurate, but I'm not sure why its relevant.

    I suppose there may some lesser-known pro heavyweight boxers out there who could beat Manny Pacquaio or whoever on the basis of power and reach - but they never get a chance to make millions doing so, because boxing competition is organized by weight classes.

    Similarly, it's true that the US men's team would defeat the women by 20+ goals if they ever played, and I sometimes find it irritating that even some sportswriters seem unaware of this fact. At the same time, I don't think that there's any substantive reason that a head-to-head competitive discrepancy should be linked to national team compensation in any way, and I doubt that there's any legal reason that it would matter either.

    I think you're mixing two different things here. Global club soccer is more or less a market economy, but national team soccer isn't - because there's only one employer allowed per country, and no exit option for the players. The claim often gets made in this debate that national teamers should be paid their "market value." That argument makes no sense in the absence of a actual market.
     
  25. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    Raleigh
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #25 superdave, Mar 9, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    OK, now that we know your perspective on life, we can assess your posts within that context.

    <pretend the tinfoil hat image I tried to paste here showed up>

    Gender discrimination is still illegal. If a college pays male professors more than female professors, or a company pays male engineers more than female engineers, that they exist in a free labor market doesn’t negate the illegality of that.

    Speaking of which...it’s just a fact of life in the US that while female individual athletes often make as much money or even more (gymnasts, figure skaters) than males, women’s team sports are just. Not. Popular. They’re not asking to be treated equally, they’re asking to be subsidized.

    As a legal matter, I can’t assess that argument because I’m not a lawyer. On the level of morality and ethics, by itself it’s an arguable case. But if you pair it with the USWNT’s utter selfishness (for example, compare them to the 99ers, or look at their relationship to the NWSL), I am very much against what they’re trying to do.

    Great point. In another place this was being discussed, I pointed out that the women, unlike the men, are completely a creature of the college system. Title IX means that men’s basketball and football subsidize the whole shebang because colleges aren’t sports collectives but colleges, and the official position of everyone with power is that sports is an extracurricular activity like the campus radio station or the orchestra. That has a lot to do with why the women have the mentality they do. That is not the mentality of us bigsoccer posters.
     

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