US Soccer hired lobbyists to mansplain why they don’t need to pay women equally

SOCCER : USA vs Netherland - Final Women s world cup - 07/07/201

I’m still sort of giddy about how amazing everything was around the Women’s World Cup and the USWNT. The way those ladies sued US Soccer before the World Cup, knowing that they would have to deliver the cup for their lawsuit to be taken seriously, and then delivering. And then some – Megan Rapinoe’s “I’m not going to the f–king White House” became one of the biggest pop culture/sports/politics moments of the year, and she never backed down, never wavered. She ended up with all the trophies too. When the American ladies won, an entire stadium of soccer fans began chanting “Equal Pay! Equal Pay!” Those chants followed the ladies home, and there was definitely some hope that US Soccer would realize that they had to come to the table and give the USWNT everything they wanted and more. Except not so much, because US Soccer would rather spend money on lobbyists to mansplain how the women don’t need to be paid any additional money.

The U.S. Soccer Federation has hired two Washington lobbying firms to push back against claims that it pays the women’s national team less than half of what it pays the men’s team. The women’s team was celebrated as feminist icons for winning the World Cup last month, even as it battled U.S. Soccer over what the players say is unfair pay. The players filed a lawsuit in March claiming that, under their previous contract, a player on the women’s team could have earned in a year as little as 38 percent of what a men’s team player made.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) both cited that statistic when they introduced legislation last month requiring U.S. Soccer to pay the men’s and women’s teams equally. U.S. Soccer, which has disputed there’s a pay gap, responded by bringing on two lobbying firms, FBB Federal Relations and Van Ness Feldman, to help convince lawmakers the women’s claims are inaccurate.

“Due to the large number of requests we’ve received from policymakers since the Women’s World Cup, we are taking the proper steps to make sure that those leaders have accurate information and factual numbers that will inform them about the unmatched support and investment the U.S. Soccer Federation has provided as a leader in women’s football across the world,” Neil Buethe, a U.S. Soccer spokesman, wrote in an email to POLITICO.

Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players, said in a statement they were “stunned and disappointed” U.S. Soccer “would spend sponsor dollars and revenue to advocate against laws that ensure that women are paid equally to men.”

The men’s national team described U.S. Soccer’s lobbying efforts as “disappointing but not surprising. If instead of paying lawyers and lobbyists to litigate, arbitrate and lobby against current and former players and just about everyone else in the sport, they instead negotiated in good faith to enter agreements to advance soccer in the US, we would all be in a better place,” the men’s national team’s players association said in a statement to POLITICO.

[From Politico]

The money truly could have gone to the USWNT. But instead it’s going to TWO lobbying firms so that lobbyists can mansplain numbers to female senators. This perfectly encapsulates systemic sexism. “We’d like to be paid fairly with all of the money we’ve generated with our amazing product.” “Nope, sorry, we’re using that money to pay dudes to explain why you don’t need any more money.” I can’t.

SOCCER : FWWC - Finale USA vs Netherlands-  07/07/2019

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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16 Responses to “US Soccer hired lobbyists to mansplain why they don’t need to pay women equally”

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  1. Murphy says:

    Jermaine Jones is a lobbyist now?
    Or just a jackass?

  2. Tiffany says:

    I don’t have a local team, but I will be purchasing tickets to other teams, to get my point across.

    The nerve I tell you, the NERVE !!!

  3. line says:

    The main reason why women who are professional footballers earn a lot less money than men is that money in football is essentially based on the broadcast rights of sports competitions. And it is the broadcasts of men’s football competitions that are the most widely sold worldwide (especially in Europe and Africa), because they bring together greater public interest , consequently it attracts more sponsors. The only way for women to get the same pay is to have the same visibility as men. So you have to put pressure on television channels for attracts more sponsors.

    • Eliza says:

      Actually at the US national team level the women bring in more revenue than the men’s team. Remember they actually win, and play a lot more games so bring in a lot more money.

      But the men make even more money still because they also get money from the MLS (or whatever league they play for). Those leagues are the ones that get more sponsorships.

    • SamC says:

      I think several of the players have said something along this line, in that they understand sponsorships play a significant part in their pay and that they need to increase viewership and sponsorship to reach full pay parity. However the pay imbalance is ridiculously disproportionate and FIFA scheduling competing events the sam day as the women’s final seemed an effort to intentionally sabotage ratings. And there is no valid reason that fundamental things like meal, lodging and travel per diems continue to be so imbalanced.

      • Becks1 says:

        Megan Rapinoe was on Pod Save America last month and I thought she brought up good points about this – how yes, the women want more money, but they also want more INVESTED in women’s soccer in the US. Its not about the straight paycheck.

  4. Eliza says:

    USWNT brings in MORE money then the USMNT. Why would you pay a group who makes more income, less money? They should be paid more than then men team’s based on their value.

    • Fleur says:

      The us men definitely get paid too much for what they produce, and have for years. Very few Americans who are into soccer care about usms because the best teams are abroad and the international games are so much better. It’s like American football in England, who cares. However to grow the sport and keep our reasonably talented male players from joining European teams, we have to pay them a decently competitive salary. The women should have pay equality especrally since they don’t have the same earning potential. In other sports with great gender interest imbalances like figure skating, the men and women get equal prize money and have since 1995. Of course in that sport the women have way higher earning potential with endorsements, so the equal prize money thing helps make it worthwhile for the men

    • himmiefan says:

      That’s right! One team sets records in the World Cup.

  5. AnnaKist says:

    And the inequity goes on for women in sport, all over the world. Some men are just gronks. They’re usually the bean counters, and to paraphrase/borrow from our former good and Christian conservative Prime Minister, “We will decide how the money gets spent, who it’s spent on and the circumstances under which we spend it.”

  6. lolalola3 says:

    USSF’s actions are sickening. Sexist and sickening.

  7. JanetFerber says:

    Eff them. They need to shut their mouths and open up their wallets. Period.

  8. Cee says:

    The way I see it, for the women’s team to be paid what they deserve, women soccer/football needs to advance. FIFA and national entities only care about money, far more than titles and cups. Broadcasting rights dictate income and generates money for them. I’d like to see broadcasting numbers for The World Cup and the Female World Cup (just that distinction in name drives me mad).

  9. Julia says:

    What I don’t get about the Jermaine Jones comments (and I’ve heard them about a million times elsewhere, too) is the idea that because women are smaller and slower than men, their soccer is fundamentally less watchable than men’s games. I’m like: dude, I watch MLS games even though they’re not World Cup rivalry matches. Soccer is soccer; it’s all fun to watch, and these women deserve to be paid fairly–and, perhaps even more importantly, US Soccer needs to invest enough money into the NWSL to ensure that that the younger players who aren’t yet national team superstars have the time and resources to develop.

  10. Baltimom says:

    Ever watched a USMNT game? Snooze fest. They get beaten more than they win. And they don’t come out scoring like the women do.