Carli Lloyd: Suing US Soccer Is About "Equal Pay for Equal Play"
In a new op-ed published in The New York Times, Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion Carli Lloyd gets candid about why she and four other members of the U.S. Women's National soccer team are suing the U.S. Soccer Federation for alleged wage discrimination — it's all about to do with being treated like a second-class citizen while doing first-class work, she says.
"[The lawsuit] had everything to do with what’s right and what's fair, and with upholding a fundamental American concept: Equal pay for equal play," Llyod writes in the op-ed published just before Equal Pay Day (which marks how many more days a woman must work to make as much as a male colleague). "Even if you are female."
The U.S. Women's National soccer team brought in $20 million more in revenue than the men's team last year, while making four times less than the male players, the lawsuit says. Should they win their suit — set to be adjudicated in May — the women would receive back pay and equal pay going forward.
The suit — filed with Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, and Hope Solo — Lloyd wrote, is about pursuing long-awaited well-deserved equality negotiating unsuccessfully with the U.S. Soccer Federation for years.
Lloyd also lays out some seriously jarring numbers, which make it very easy to see why the team feels so unjustly treated. "Each year, the United States men's and women's national teams each play a minimum of 20 friendly matches," she explains. "The top five players on the men’s team make an average of $406,000 each year from these games. The top five women are guaranteed only $72,000 each year."
As if that weren't bad enough, Lloyd continues, the women are significantly short-changed on their bonuses, too. "If I were a male soccer player who won a World Cup for the United States, my bonus would be $390,000," she writes. "Because I am a female soccer player, the bonus I got for our World Cup victory last summer was $75,000."
Even when it comes to on-the-road expenses, female players still get paid less than men. "I was on the road for about 260 days last year," Lloyd writes. "When I am traveling internationally, I get $60 a day for expenses. Michael Bradley gets $75. Maybe they figure that women are smaller and thus eat less."
Lloyd also wants the world to know the women's team doesn't resent their male peers. "Our beef is not with the men’s national team; we love those guys, and we support those guys," she writes. "It’s with the federation, and its history of treating us as if we should be happy that we are professional players and not working in the kitchen or scrubbing the locker room."
Lloyd and her teammates want to stand up for what's right for them — and in doing so, set an example for all women who are paid less than men.
"The fact that women are being mistreated financially is, sadly, not a breaking news story. It goes on in every field," she writes. "We can’t right all the world’s wrongs, but we’re totally determined to right the unfairness in our field, not just for ourselves but for the young players coming up behind us and for our soccer sisters around the world."
She continues, "This isn’t about a money grab. It’s about doing the right thing, the fair thing. It’s about treating people the way they deserve to be treated, no matter their gender."
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