USWNT's Megan Rapinoe Says 'We Won't Accept Anything Less Than Equal Pay'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2019

PASADENA, CA - AUGUST 3:   Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States the United States international friendly match against Ireland at the Rose Bowl on August 3, 2019 in Pasadena, California.  The United States won the match 3-0 (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)
Shaun Clark/Getty Images

United States women's national team star Megan Rapinoe appeared Thursday on Good Morning America and Today to discuss the USWNT's battle to receive pay equal to their male counterparts.

Rapinoe, alongside teammate Christen Press, was clear about what the players are seeking: "We won't accept anything less than equal pay."

Good Morning America @GMA

"If and when and ever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there then goes forward, we’re always open for that," @mpinoe tells @arobach. https://t.co/7RW7r32q9c https://t.co/oGAEqu4oLn

The media appearances by the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup champions came after talks between the USWNT and U.S. Soccer broke down Wednesday, per ESPN's Graham Hays.

In March, 28 USWNT players filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer in an effort to receive equal pay. Since that time, the USWNT has won its second consecutive World Cup and fourth overall.

On the heels of the impasse in talks with U.S. Soccer, Rapinoe commented on what went wrong on Good Morning America:

"Unfortunately the talks have broke down. We did have a lot of faith and hope, and we were very optimistic that we could come together and get to a better place. It really does take everyone. We can't just come with our demands and then theirs and not be in a position to compromise on things. But, unfortunately, we're here."

During her appearance on Today, Rapinoe noted that while the USWNT players don't want to go to court, they are willing to if their demand for equal pay is not met, per Hays:

"We're always open to hearing that conversation if they're ready to have it. That's the only federation we can play for. We're the only team that they have. ... So we're sort of tethered together in that way. But at any point if they want to have a serious conversation and are willing to not only talk about paying us equally and valuing us in that way, but actually doing it and showing us that they'll do it, our ears are always open. I don't think anybody wants to go to litigation. But with that said, we're very confident in our case."

Press added that the USWNT and U.S. Soccer "never even got past" the equal pay discussion during mediation.

From a wins and losses perspective, the USWNT has been far more successful than the men's team. The USWNT is the top women's team in the world and the two-time reigning World Cup champions, while the United States men's team is ranked 22nd and failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

According to Hays, it is unlikely that the issue will be settled before preparations for the 2020 Summer Olympics begin, but it isn't yet known if the players will use Olympic participation as leverage in talks.