Did you hear the one about how the female soccer players on the U.S. Women’s National Team (WNT) were paid less than the players on the U.S. Men’s National Team (MNT)?

Of course you did, it’s an article of feminist faith and social justice warfare that women always are victims, and no one played victim quite like the female stars on the national soccer team.

After winning the World Cup, Megan Rapinoe used her stardom to claim unequal pay was the most important issue:

Megan Rapinoe could faintly hear the stadium erupt in chants of “equal pay” as she and her teammates prepared to celebrate their World Cup win.

Rapinoe, one of the 28 players who sued the United States Soccer Federation alleging gender discrimination, said it felt like an iconic turning point in history.

“I think we knew that this win … was going to be bigger than soccer. But that moment, I think, just solidified everything,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. “It was like this World Cup win is so much more than what was on the field.” ….

The federal class-action lawsuit against the soccer federation alleges the men’s national team earns more than the women’s team, even though the women play more games and win more matches.

Rapinoe said the issue is about “so much more than the money.”
“It’s really more about the investment in the game. Is the investment equal? We’re talking marketing dollars and branding, investment in the youth, investment in the players, investment in the coaching staff. I don’t think that that’s there. I don’t think that that’s ever been there.”
She said the men’s side of sports in general is seen as “this exciting opportunity, business opportunity that needs to be invested in.”
“The women’s is like, ‘How cheap can we do this while sort of keeping them happy?'” she said.

In March 2020, the women on the team staged a protest on the field over unequal pay.

In a pointed message about unequal pay, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team wore their warmup jerseys inside out during the national anthem before their match against Japan on Wednesday.

When worn inside out, U.S. Soccer Federation’s logo is obscured, but the four stars ― representing each of the team’s World Cup victories ― remain visible.

The players reversed their uniforms back to normal for the game, the final match of the SheBelieves Cup tournament (which they won).

Last year, 28 members of the team filed a lawsuit demanding equal pay and benefits that are offered to the men’s team.

Well that lawsuit now is over, in a very devastating way. After reviewing the evidence submitted by the parties, the judge found that there was no pay discrimination against the women. In fact, the women made more than the men.

The Order (pdf.) throwing out most of the women’s claims goes through the history of the case, the negotiations, the pay packages, and so on. You can read the whole thing if you want to understand how broken sports is, but here’s the heart of the judge’s finding (emphasis added).

The statements offered by Plaintiffs are insufficient to establish a genuine dispute that WNT players are paid at a rate less than the rate paid to MNT players. That USSF agents said WNT players are paid less does not make it true where, as here, Defendant has presented evidence that the WNT was paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than the MNT.

In sum, Defendant has offered evidence in support of its Motion for Summary Judgment that the WNT has been paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than the MNT over the class period. In response, Plaintiffs have offered evidence that (1) WNT players are paid lower bonuses for friendlies, World Cup-related games, and other tournaments; (2) WNT players would have made more under the MNT CBA than they did under their own CBA, and; (3) USSF agents made statements to the effect that WNT players are paid less than MNT players. As set forth above, this evidence is insufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Accordingly, the Court grants summary judgment to Defendant on Plaintiffs’ EPA claim.

The Court then went through claims relating to ‘working conditions’ and left alive only a narrow set:

For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs’ Motion and GRANTS in part Defendant’s Motion. Plaintiffs’ Title VII claim for discriminatory working conditions survives only insofar as it is based on (1) travel conditions (specifically, charter flights and hotel accommodations), and (2) personnel and support services (specifically, medical and training support).

This is a near total defeat for the female soccer players claiming discriminatin. Most important, the key aspect of the public relations campaign — unequal pay — was found to be factually bogus.

The NY Times summed up the heartbreak:

The judge in the United States women’s soccer team’s equal pay lawsuit rejected the players’ most important claims on Friday, delivering a crushing blow to the team’s four-year legal campaign against the United States Soccer Federation.

The judge, R. Gary Klausner of United States District Court for the Central District of California, accepted the federation’s argument in what is called a motion for summary judgment. In his ruling, he dismissed the players’ arguments that they were systematically underpaid by U.S. Soccer in comparison with the men’s national team. In fact, Klausner wrote, U.S. Soccer had substantiated its argument that the women’s team had actually earned more “on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis” than the men’s team during the years at issue in the lawsuit….

Klausner’s ruling preserved the players’ claims about unequal treatment in areas like travel, hotel accommodations and team staffing. A trial on those issues is scheduled to begin June 16.

But in dismissing the equal pay argument that had been the heart of the players’ case, Klausner brought to an end — for the moment — a yearslong fight that had pitted the players against their employer, and transformed them from merely the world’s best women’s soccer team into global standard-bearers for pay equity, women’s rights and support for women’s sports.

Upon receiving the decision, the lawyers for the Federation were heard to shout:

Bonus, completely politically incorrect question:

If the women are paid MORE than the men, when do the men sue?

[Featured Image: Megan Rapinoe at NYC Victory Celebration]

 

 
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