The U.S. men’s national team announced its continues to support the women’s national team’s equal pay fight following a judge’s decision to dismiss a 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.
The men’s national team players union released a statement Monday outlining their efforts to seek pay equity for the women’s national team.
“The USMNT players continue to stand with the WNT players in their efforts to secure equal pay,” the statement read. “For a year and a half the USMNT players have made proposals to the Federation that would achieve equal pay for the USMNT and USWNT players. We understand the WNT players plan to appeal last week’s decision and we support them.”
The men’s national team initially voiced its support for the women’s national team in February, calling for U.S. Soccer to “pay the women significantly more than our recently expired men’s deal.” The union also slammed the federation for sexist language used in a legal filing in March, calling for “better leadership in our sport” and “a fair deal for equal compensation” for the women’s national team.
U.S. women’s national team stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan said the judge’s ruling came as a shock to both sides on Friday. On Monday, they pledged to appeal the decision and continue to fight for equal pay.
However, an appeal could take over a year, and nationwide court closures due to the coronavirus pandemic is likely to extend 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.
The women’s national team players argue they only out-earned the men by playing and winning more games. Rapinoe also said the women were never offered the same collective bargaining agreement as the men.
The trial is currently set to begin on June 16 after a postponement from May due to the coronavirus pandemic.