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Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe on equal pay lawsuit setback: ‘We will continue to fight’

The USWNT stars shared their reaction to a judge’s decision in their wage discrimination lawsuit and plans to appeal during an appearance on Good Morning America

U.S. women’s national team stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe aren’t deterred in their fight for equal pay despite a judge’s decision to side with U.S. Soccer and dismiss key portion of their discrimination claim. 

Judge R. Gary Klausner issued a ruling Friday dismissing the majority of the players’ previous arguments their rights were violated under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Following his decision, the players only have two claims left to pursue — unfair travel accommodations and medical and training support.

Rapinoe and Morgan said during Monday a morning appearance on Good Morning America the ruling came as a shock and they will fight the decision.

“We will definitely be appealing and moving forward,” Morgan said. “If anyone knows anything about the heart of this team, we are fighters and we will continue to fight together for this.”

An appeal process could take more than a year, with court closings caused by the coronavirus pandemic likely extending the process.

In his decision, Klausner ruled the women did not suffer discriminatory compensation because they earned more than the men. During the contested period, the women’s team played 111 games and earned $24.5 million while the men played 87 games and made $18.5 million. The men’s earnings skewed lower, in part, because they failed to earn a World Cup bid during the period being compared.

Rapinoe said the decision required the women to perform at a higher level to out-earn the men.

“If we were under the men’s contract, we would be making three times more,” Rapinoe said. “So you can look at the total compensation. … In that time that we’ve made just a little bit more, we’ve won two World Cups and we’ve won just about every single game that we’ve played in. So the rate of pay is just so different.”

Another part of Klausner’s decision revolved around the separate collective bargaining agreements that had been negotiated by the men’s and women’s teams. The judge said the compensation disparity was due to differing CBA agreements.

“The men’s contract was never offered to us and certainly not the same amount of money,” Rapinoe said. “I think so many women can understand what this feeling is of going into a negotiation, knowing equal pay is not on the table, knowing anywhere close to your male counterparts is not even on the table.”

Rapinoe and Morgan said the players remain focused on earning a victory on the issues not dismissed by the judge while also fighting for equal pay on a broader scale.

During the GMA interview, Morgan also acknowledged she’s still awaiting the birth of her daughter, who was due in April. 

“It’s taken a little longer than we anticipated, and she’s a stubborn girl,” Morgan said. “We hope in the next week that she will make her entrance into the world.”

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