US Soccer won't give women's team equal pay because the men have 'more responsibility'
As the U.S women's national soccer team (USWNT) continues with their equal pay lawsuit, attornies for the U.S Soccer Federation have put forth the argument that male soccer players carry "more responsibility within U.S soccer" than their female counterparts.
The lawsuit, which was filed in March of 2019, in Los Angeles federal court under the Equal Pay Act, details that players (including Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn and Carli Lloyd) claim they are not paid the same as the men's national players. They are asking to be awarded over $66 million in damages, according to PEOPLE.
Now, the U.S Soccer Federation has released new arguments as to why the USWNT is paid less than the USMNT, alleging that it's not predicated on gender-based discrimination.
Court documents filed under the Equal Pay Act see U.S Soccer lawyers assert that "The job of [a men's national soccer player] carries more responsibility within US Soccer than the job of a [women’s national team] player."
They also highlighted biological differences - which they claimed to be "indisputable science" - to argue that the women's team should be paid less, as the men's team "requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength than does the job of WNT player". Lawyers stated that this was not just a "sexist stereotype".
A spokesperson for the women's team has since responded in a statement provided to PEOPLE:
"This ridiculous argument' belongs in the Paleolithic Era. It sounds as if it has been made by a caveman. Literally everyone in the world understands that an argument that male players 'have more responsibility' is just plain simple sexism and illustrates the very gender discrimination that caused us to file this lawsuit to begin with. So looking forward to trial on May 5.”
This female soccer player lost her hijab during a soccer game:
Buzzfeed News reports that the federation's lawyers interviewed key members of the women's team, including Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, over the fact that they were not as fast or strong as players on the men's team.
"Do you think that the team could be competitive against the senior men’s national team?" an attorney asked Lloyd, per court documents filed last month. "I’m not sure," Lloyd replied. "Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?"
Another Lawyer quizzed Morgan, asking "Do you think it requires more skill to play for the US Men’s National Team than the US Women’s National Team?" to which she responded, "No. It's a different skill."
Star player, Megan Rapinoe, addressed the fact that U.S Soccer President, Carlos Cordeiro, announced the rejection one night before the She Believes Cup - a women's tournament that tends to coincide near International Women's Day.
“I mean, the timing of it on the eve of not only a game, but in this tournament and on the eve of International Women’s Day,” she told The Athletic. "I guess if that’s how you want to celebrate International Women’s Day and show support for not only your players but future players and girls all over the place, that’s one way to do it."
The U.S Soccer Federation previously pointed out that the women's team, which is represented by a different union, rejected a "pay-to-play" agreement that was comparable to the men's team.
"At the moment, the 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,” the USSF said in a statement to ESPN.
This article originally appeared on VT.co