U.S. Women's Soccer Team Files Appeal in Equal Pay Case, Seeks Trial Delay

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2020

FRISCO, TX - MARCH 11: Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States celebrates during a game between Japan and USWNT at Toyota Stadium on March 11, 2020 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The United States women's national soccer team filed a motion Friday to appeal last week's ruling that U.S. Soccer did not violate the Equal Pay Act with regard to the USWNT's pay compared to their male counterparts'.

According to ESPN's Graham Hays, the USWNT also filed a motion to postpone a trial scheduled to begin June 16. The trial is related to two Title VII claims made by the USWNT: that U.S. Soccer discriminated against the team in the areas of travel and accommodations as well as support staffing.

A U.S. Soccer spokesperson told ESPN the organization is open to holding settlement talks with the USWNT to avoid a trial, but the USWNT hasn't agreed to resume talks.

Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled last week that any imbalance in pay between the USWNT and USMNT was a result of their differing collective bargaining agreements rather than a conscious effort by U.S. Soccer to make it so.

Molly Levinson, who is a spokesperson for the USWNT players, said the following regarding the decision to appeal:

"The argument that women gave up a right to equal pay by accepting the best collective bargaining agreement possible in response to the federation's refusal to put equal pay on the table is not legit reason for continuing to discriminate against them. Today we are filing a motion to allow us to appeal immediately the district court's decision so that the Ninth Circuit will be able to review these claims.

"... Equal pay means paying women players the same rate for winning a game as men get paid. The argument that women are paid enough if they make close to the same amount as men while winning twice as often is not equal pay. The argument that maternity leave is some sort of substitute for paying players the same rate for winning as men is not valid, not fair, nor equal."

Hays reported last week that Klausner came to his decision since the USWNT players were unable to prove they earned more than their male counterparts from 2015-19 only because they played more matches.

Unless the appeal is expedited, Hays noted that it is likely to take at least a year, which means the issue could be ongoing through a couple of important events. The Summer Olympics are scheduled for July and August 2021, and the USWNT's CBA expires Dec. 31, 2021.