The U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) has been forced to backtrack and apologise after they faced backlash against statements made in court documents.
The comments made on behalf of the USSF by their lawyers stated that the Men’s National Team possess greater skill and have more demanding jobs than their female counterparts and thus deserve greater pay.
The statement read that ‘… A reasonable juror could conclude that the job of the [Men’s National Team] player requires materially different skill and more responsibility than the Plaintiff’s [Women’s National Team player] job does.
The trial in which the comments were made are over the U.S Women’s National Team suing its employer (USSF) over pay discrimination and violations of both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Members of the U.S Women’s National Team are seeking $67 million, whilst the USSF are asking the court to dismiss the case.
In retaliation and protest to the comments made in the court, the U.S Women’s National Team covered their logo and that of their sponsors as they warmed up for their game against Japan last night.
The USWNT has taken the field with their warm up jerseys inside out, hiding the US Soccer crest.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2020
This is in response to the latest legal filings by the US Soccer Federation in the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by 28 US players. (@espnW) pic.twitter.com/BTZgYeeNMD
Captain, Megan Rapinoe commented that US Soccer has done “irreparable” damage to their relationship with the U.S Women’s National Team.
“I think that says a lot about how they feel about us.
“It’s undertones and undercurrents, sometimes blatantly, that we’ve experienced before which is why we’ve filed the gender discrimination lawsuit.”
“But for them to go that low and take it there in this lawsuit is not just disappointing for us, but more so for what it says to every other person in the country, every kid growing up, not only girls but the boys as well. You’re not lesser because you’re a girl and you’re not better because you’re a boy as well.”
Following the backlash, U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro apologized for “the offense and pain caused by language in this week’s court filing, which did not reflect the values of our Federation or our tremendous admiration of our Women’s National Team. Our WNT players are incredibly talented and work tirelessly, as they have demonstrated time and again from their Olympic Gold medals to their World Cup titles.”
Coca-Cola, one of the sport’s largest sponsors, also blasted the USSF, calling the comments “unacceptable and offensive” and is calling for a meeting on the matter.
“We are extremely disappointed with the unacceptable and offensive comments made by US Soccer,” said Kate Hartman, Coca-Cola group director for global brand public relations in a statement.
“We have asked to meet with them immediately to express our concerns. The Coca-Cola Company is firm in its commitment to gender equality, fairness and women’s empowerment in the United States and around the world and we expect the same from our partners.”