Federal Judge Rules Against U.S. Women's Soccer Team Wage Discrimination Lawsuit

Nick Kangadis | May 4, 2020
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According to a California federal judge, it was the members of the United States Women's National Soccer Team's (USWNT) own decisions that, in part, led him to rule in favor of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) in a lawsuit filed by the ladies.

Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled against the women who filed a gender wage discrimination lawsuit against the USSF back in February. The lawsuit alleged that the women's national team got paid less than the men's national team, despite the women being more successful.

ESPN reported:

Klausner's ruling was informed by the federation's contention that women's players were paid more in total and on a per-game basis than their male counterparts were during the period in question. Friday's ruling cited as undisputed fact that from 2015 to 2019, the women's national team averaged $220,747 per game in total payments (for a total of $24.5 million), while the men's national team averaged $212,639 per game in total payments (for a total of $18.5 million)[...]

Klausner effectively concluded that differences in payment structure were the result of choices made by the women's players and their union -- including guaranteed annual salaries of at least $100,000 for 20 contracted players -- and not discrimination by the federation.

Just as Klaunser ruled, when the lawsuit was first filed the USSF argued the same point that the women and their union negotiated their contracts. Therefore, there couldn't be discrimination against the women if they negotiated their own deals.

Here's what the USSF said in a statement back in February:

Women’s national team players are paid differently because they specifically asked for and negotiated a completely different contract than the men’s national team, despite being offered, and rejecting, a similar pay-to-play agreement during the past negotiations. Their preference was a contract that provides significant additional benefits that the men’s national team does not have, including guaranteed annual salaries, medical and dental insurance, paid child-care assistance, paid pregnancy and parental leave, severance benefits, salary continuation during periods of injury, access to a retirement plan, multiple bonuses and more.

So if we go by what is presented to us, which is all we can go by, not only did the women's national team get paid more per game on average than the men's team, but they also received more benefits than the men as well.

Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the women's team, said the women are "shocked and disappointed" and are planning an appeal.

"We are shocked and disappointed with today's decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay," said Levinson. "We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women who play this sport will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender."

Well, they're not.

And are they saying that they want to be paid less in order to be paid equal, because that's what the facts presented dictate. Next time, don't agree to a deal if you're indecisive about the particulars. Or maybe, don't trust a union.