Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan started their week with an appearance on “Good Morning America” to speak out after the equal pay lawsuit filed by the U.S. women’s national team took a big hit late Friday night.
Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled that the USWNT’s claim of unequal pay to the men’s team did not warrant a trial. USWNT spokesperson Molly Levinson vowed an “immediate appeal” and players, including Rapinoe and Morgan, shared the statement on their Twitter accounts with vows to keep fighting.
Rapinoe, Morgan call USWNT ruling a ‘shock’
They again reiterated their disappointment and vow on “GMA” and called the news a shock.
“We are fighters and we’ll continue to fight together for this.” @USWNT #WorldCup champions @mPinoe and @alexmorgan13 speak out on the latest setback in their equal pay fight and what’s next. https://t.co/0nOJnS4zxy pic.twitter.com/iJhHszhKyB— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 4, 2020
“We really do believe in this case. Like Megan said, we were just shocked,” Morgan told GMA’s Robin Roberts. “This decision was out of left field for us. I think for both sides it was very unexpected. We will definitely will be appealing and moving forward. If anyone knows about anything about the heart of this team, we are fighters and we will continue to fight together for this.”
Players on the USWNT sued U.S. Soccer last year alleging that the federation paid the men’s team more due to gender discrimination. Two other components of the lawsuit remain on track for a trial. The USWNT argued discrimination on the grounds of providing charter flights for the men but not women, and that the USWNT is given fewer support services than the men.
“This is definitely a hurdle in the road, but it’s not something that’s going to stop or deter us for something we’ve been true to,” said Morgan, who is 41 weeks pregnant and expecting her daughter any day now.
The trial date was pushed back to June 6 due to the coronavirus crisis.
Rapinoe: Issue is rate of pay, not overall compensation
Rapinoe, who also spoke with “CBS This Morning” on Monday, honed in on the issue of overall compensation versus rate of pay, which is the sticking point between each side’s case.
The case filed by the USWNT players was based on the argument they had been paid smaller bonuses and would have made more money under the men’s CBA, which offered larger per-game compensation.
In particular, the judge pointed to a “history of negotiations” where the USWNT had sought more guaranteed compensation than the riskier pay-to-play structure in the USMNT’s contract. The USWNT “cannot now retroactively deem their CBA worse than the USMNT CBA by reference to what they would have made” under the men’s contract, the judge wrote.
Rapinoe, who won the Golden Boot at the 2019 World Cup, noted that the women’s team won two World Cups and “just about every single game that we played in.” She also affirmed the players’ stance that they were never offered the same contract as the men’s team nor the same money. She said while they tried for equal pay, they were told no.
“The rate of pay is just so different. It’s just so frustrating. To be honest I think many women go through this. When we went through our CBA — I think the judge in the court ruling alluded to this that now that the contracts have played out we’re just saying that because we’ve made less we would like to go to the men’s contract.
“The men’s contract was never offered to us. And certainly not the same amount of money. So to say that we negotiated for a contract and that’s what we agreed to, I think so many women can understand what this feeling is going to a negotiation, knowing equal pay is not on the table. Knowing anywhere close to your male counterparts is not on the table.”
The USWNT has had massive support both on the pitch and in its battle for equal pay in the last decade. Former vice president and presumptive democratic nominee Joe Biden lent his support to the team the last few days, both in an Instagram Live with Rapinoe and also on Twitter. U.S. Soccer has also taken some missteps in the battle that have not landed well with fans.
Based on the team’s history with U.S. Soccer, this fight is long from over.
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