A Judge Rejected The USWNT's Equal Pay Claim, But They're Not Giving Up

by Christina Marfice
A Judge Rejected The USWNT's Equal Pay Claim, But They're Not Giving Up
Wilf Thorne/ISI Photos/Getty

The USWNT is not giving up their fight for equal pay, despite an early setback in their lawsuit

It’s already been a long fight for the U.S. Women’s National soccer team (USWNT), who in March of last year, filed a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation seeking equal pay to the men’s team. The women have had overwhelming public support for equal pay. They’re a more successful team than the men’s. The men’s team even released a statement in support of paying the women players equally. But the USSF refused, and now, the women’s team has received its first big setback in the lawsuit.

According to ABC News, last week, U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner rejected part of the USWNT’s lawsuit, stating that the players “have not demonstrated a triable issue that WNT players are paid less than MNT players.” Klausner also said that any differences in pay between the two teams have been because of choices the women and their union made, and not because of discrimination. This is despite the fact that the USSF up and said in their response to the lawsuit, “The job of MNT [Men’s National Team] player requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength than does the job of WNT team player.” Yikes.

It’s a big blow, but the USWNT is already vowing to fight back. Their spokesperson, Molly Levinson, released a statement soon after the decision, saying, “We have learned that there are tremendous obstacles to change; we know that it takes bravery and courage and perseverance to stand up to them. We will appeal and press on.”

“We are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay,” Levinson said.

“We look forward to working with the women’s national team to chart a positive path forward to grow the game,” the USSF said in response to the ruling. “We are committed to continuing that work to ensure our women’s national team remains the best in the world.”

Some of the players have also spoken out about the decision on social media, including Megan Rapinoe, the USWNT captain who captured America’s hearts during the World Cup in 2018.

The USWNT even got a shout out from Joe Biden, who promised to help them achieve equal pay if he wins the White House in November.

Rapinoe and Morgan appeared on Good Morning America this week to talk about the setback, and they both expressed that they were surprised at the ruling.

“We really do believe in this case. We were just shocked. This decision was out of left field for us,” Morgan said. “We will definitely be appealing and moving forward. If anyone knows anything about the heart of this team, we are fighters, and we’ll continue to fight together for this.