US Soccer Star: We're Tired Of Being Kicked Around On Wage Inequality

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Despite greater revenue generation and more on-field success, the U.S. women’s national soccer team barely earns one-fifth of their male counterparts.

Women Soccer Star

It doesn’t matter how hard women work or if their performances are better than men, they're still not treated the same as their male counterparts — a sad reality that applies to all professions.

The captain of World-Cup winning United States women's national soccer team, Carli Lloyd, addressed the issue Sunday in an op-ed for The New York Times. The star athlete claimed her teammates are being treated like “second-class citizens,” and that it is time for a change.

“I’ve worn a U.S. soccer uniform for 12 years and have done so proudly,” she began. “So when I joined four teammates in filing a wage-discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer late last month, it had nothing to do with how much I love to play for my country. It had everything to do with what’s right and what’s fair, and with upholding a fundamental American concept: equal pay for equal play.”

Llyod was referring to a complaint she  along with teammates Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn  recently filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation, accusing it of wage discrimination. The action, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), argues the team is paid almost four times less than the men’s national team.

Although this debate is not new, Lloyd’s article certainly gives an in-depth view of the discrimination women face off the field.

“If I were a male soccer player who won a World Cup for the United States, my bonus would be $390,000. Because I am a female soccer player, the bonus I got for our World Cup victory last summer was $75,000,” she wrote. “The men get almost $69,000 for making a World Cup roster. As women, we get $15,000 for making the World Cup team.”

Ironically, the well-paid men's team has never won a single World Cup title while the women's team has won three.

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In another example, the 33-year-old revealed when she travels internationally, she receives $60 a day for expenses while fellow soccer star Michael Bradley gets $75. Moreover, when a female player makes a sponsor appearance for the U.S. Soccer, she gets $3,000 while male players receive $3,750 for the same appearance.

Seeing how these men and women perform the exact same work under similar conditions, there doesn’t seem to be a logical, justifiable explanation for the present wage discrimination between the two genders.

“Our beef is not with the men’s national team; we love those guys, and we support those guys,” Lloyd clarified. “It’s with the federation, and its history of treating us as if we should be happy that we are professional players and not working in the kitchen or scrubbing the locker room.”

While the EEOC is set to conduct an investigation before making a ruling on whether or not to increase the women's team pay, some male athletes seem to treat gender pay gaps as as attack on themselves instead of as discrimination.

For instance, tennis star Novak Djokovic recently claimed men deserve to get more awards than women do because they are the ones bringing in the big crowds. He also claimed that prize money at combined events should be divided among players based on the number of tickets sold along with the TV viewing figures.

It’s unfortunate how despite living in the 21st century, a number of men still can’t let go of their misogynistic instincts.

However, Lloyd isn’t the first athlete to talk about the issue. Earlier this year, tennis star Serena Williams also addressed the discrimination in a rebuttal to Djokovic’s sexist statement.

“If I have a daughter who plays tennis and also have a son that plays tennis, I wouldn't say that my son deserves more because he is a man,” she said. “If they both started at 3 years old I would say they both deserve the same amount of money.”

Apart from tennis and soccer, a similar problem exists in basketball where the WNBA pays female basketball players about 33 percent of the league revenue while the NBA pays male players more than 50 percent.

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