Source: Selwyn Duke
Legendary line “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute” is obviously not the motto of the U.S. Soccer Federation. This seems apparent now that the organization just ended its six-year legal battle with the U.S. women’s soccer team by agreeing to fork over an additional $24 million in pay and bonuses to the female players. This is despite the fact that the men’s team brings in substantially more revenue, the women’s squad lost some years ago to 14-year-old boys, and that the women’s compensation had already reportedly exceeded the men’s.
Breitbart covers the story, writing:
According to the agreement, the women players will all split $22 million — which is only about one-third of the damages they sought in their lawsuit. The league is also chipping in $2 million to benefit players after they retire as well as programs to help grow the sport of women’s soccer, the New York Post reported.
In the future, the league will pay female players the same rate that male players are now paid. In addition, the women will also now receive the same World Cup bonuses that the men get upon reaching the tournament.
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This may sound fair, but it’s deceptive. As the Associated Press reported in 2019 in a piece entitled, “US Soccer says women’s team has made more than the men,” “Comparing compensation between the two teams is difficult because the pay structure is based on different collective bargaining agreements. For example, players for the women’s team have a base salary while the men are paid primarily based on matches and performance.”
In other words, “A contract player on the women’s team makes a base salary and can earn performance-based bonuses. (Players without a contract have a different pay schedule.),” explained The Washington Post, also in 2019. “On the men’s team, players earn only bonuses.”
It’s also reported that the women had the opportunity to have the same contract as the men. But they declined it, instead preferring guaranteed pay.
Why would the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) choose security over riskier performance-based pay? “The men’s team brings far, far more fans to their World Cup games than the women’s teams,” Breitbart explains. “In 2018, the Men’s World Cup garnered 3.6 billion total viewers worldwide. That viewership brought $6 billion in profits to FIFA, the international soccer league.”
“On the other hand, the last Women’s World Cup in 2015 only saw 764 million viewers,” the site continues. “That is a huge disparity and an essential marker in what the two leagues earn from the fans.”
Put differently, the female players want risk-level pay without the risk.
Worse Than Boys; Paid Better Than Men
The kicker is that according to ex-U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro, the women already received greater compensation, even before the lawsuit capitulation. As he related in a 2019 letter, the “federation paid out $34.1 million in salary and game bonuses to the women between 2010 and 2018 as opposed to $26.4 million paid to the men,” the AP wrote. “The total does not include the value of benefits received only by the women, like health care.”
Of course, the USWNT certainly would claim otherwise. Whatever the figures, however, many would say the team certainly beats the men in the chutzpah department. For one thing, the women players lost a 2017 scrimmage 5-2 to a team that makes exactly zilch: the FC Dallas Under-15 squad.
Yes, that would be 14-year-old and, perhaps, some 13-year-old, boys.
This isn’t unusual. The Australian national women’s team, then ranked fifth worldwide, lost 7-0 to a boys’ under-15 team in 2016.
This said, ability doesn’t directly determine pay under an economic-freedom-oriented system; the market does. For example, male fashion models’ skills are certainly comparable to those of their female counterparts, but they get paid substantially less due to market forces.
Yet the difference is that male models don’t have the whole establishment agitating to trump the market in deference to their pocketbooks. With soccer, however, it’s quite the opposite.
For example, The Washington Post related that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted in 2019,
“Here’s an idea: If you win 13-0 — the most goals for a single game in World Cup history — you should be paid at least equally to the men’s team.”
(Here’s another idea: Keep quiet when ignorant on a subject. High scoring is generally more common in leagues with lower skill and less depth.)
Then there was ex-senator Kamala Harris. She tweeted in 2019, the Post told us, that as “the U.S. Women’s National Team takes the field against Thailand today, the players are also fighting to be paid equally. It’s time we pay our USWNT equally.“
The irony is that there’s a very logical response to equal-pay agitation by entitled female athletes:
If you want the men’s pay, compete in and succeed in the men’s arena.
It’s a bit odd lobbying for higher pay based on an equality argument while also supporting an inherently unequal system — that is, having separate, protected tours, leagues, and teams for women.
It’s like establishing a basketball league only for white guys (who are “underrepresented” in the majority black NBA) but then, despite their inferior play, demanding the NBA’s salaries. How would that go over?
About as well today as does logic, which has been dismissed as “white, male,” and “linear.” Ergo, emotion-fired double standards within double standards and another $24 million for a fifth-rate league.