Posted on July 17, 2019
Cup De Sgrace
No, the USWNT didn’t win the World Cup
Are the Team USA women’s soccer players underpaid? Yes, and no. Mostly no, actually. Yes, the women’s game is producing more revenue than in decades past, which ought to entitle them to better pay, but the current pay scale is the result of a 2017 collective bargaining agreement. If they’re worth so much more money, they should have held out for it then, instead of complaining two years later.
Furthermore, the U.S. Soccer Federation pays each women’s team member a $56,000 salary to play in the National Women’s Soccer League. Add that to the USWNT base salary of $72,000, plus bonuses for winning international matches, and it comes to over $130,000 a year. A six-figure bonus for this year’s Women’s World Cup brings it to about a quarter-million.
That’s pretty substantial, unless you compare it to what the men earn, but why would you? In 2018, the USMNT averaged 24,000 fans a game, compared to 14,000 for the women. The average attendance in Major League Soccer is just over 20,000, whereas in the NWSL, it’s barely over 6,000. Even the Women’s World Cup only drew 21,000 fans per game, while the men’s CONCACAF Gold Cup pulled in more than 33,500.
The great sophistry of the equal pay argument is in comparing “World Cup” prize money. The USA women got $4 million to split among them for winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup, whereas the French men’s team got $38 million for winning the 2018 World Cup. Whatever could explain this, but misogyny?
Let’s cut the crap, while it’s still possible to do so without being charged with a hate crime. The USWNT has NEVER won the World Cup. It has won a tournament that borrows the World Cup name, but there’s only one World Cup. For equal pay to be a legitimate aim, the World Cup and the Women’s World Cup would have to be equal. If you remember those “comparable worth” studies that determined that, say, being a school counselor was comparable to being a forklift operator, this is many times stupider. In this case, the jobs are comparable, but the comparison does not flatter the women.
If the Women’s World Cup champions had to compete for the World Cup, not only wouldn’t they win, but they’d never come close to winning a single qualifier. They’d be lucky to even score a goal.
The media have been trying to spin the fact that the USWNT was outscored 5-2 in a scrimmage by a boys’ under-15 team two years ago. If the game had counted, they say, the outcome might have been different. Fair enough, but why play in the first place? The men’s team wouldn’t scrimmage against high school freshmen, because they’d have to patronize the boys by visibly holding back in an effort to feign competitiveness. For the women to have played against those kids, the two sides must have been understood to be roughly equivalent.
To argue that “World Cup” pay should be equal, the USA women would have to be on par with the French men’s team, but of course they’re not. They couldn’t even complete with the USA men’s team that they delight in maligning. They’d never stand a prayer against the Columbus Crew, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, or the men’s varsity team from the University of Akron. They’d probably even find it sexist of any of those teams to behave the same way they did while defeating lesser competition.
Surely, they don’t believe they’re a better team than the men are. Surely, Alex Morgan doesn’t imagine she’s a better player than Jozy Altidore. Nevertheless, when the most obnoxious sports team since the Mets of the late 80s isn’t too busy belittling its opponents, or insulting the country it purports to represent, it claims to be equal to the greatest soccer team in the world.
For Women’s World Cup players to get equal pay to those of the World Cup, the international organization FIFA that operates both tournaments would have to run the women’s event at a loss. It would have to take the revenues generated by both tournaments and put them in a communal pot, from which it would then distribute the winnings. What the USA women are angrily demanding is that they be given money that they know perfectly well has been rightfully earned by someone else.
No wonder nobody on the team publicly disagrees with the anti-American fomentations of team captain and part-time Martin Short character Megan Rapinoe. As a group, they’re simply not fond of free enterprise.
The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press