Women’s Soccer

Federal judge rules U.S. Soccer did not violate Equal Pay Act

A federal judge ruled Friday in favor of the United States Soccer Federation, dismissing a claim it violated the Equal Pay Act by allegedly discriminating against female athletes. District Judge R. Gary Klausner granted in part a motion for summary judgment sought by the U.S. Soccer Federation, siding with its lawyers in a dispute involving athlete pay. He allowed other aspects of the lawsuit to move ahead, however, setting the stage for lawyers representing members of the Women’s National Team to pursue different claims in court. An attorney for the team said they would appeal the dismissal of their equal pay claim, and Democratic presidential hopeful Joseph R. Biden said he would get involved if elected. Lawyers for members of the women’s team filed the suit against U.S. Soccer in March 2019, seeking more than $66 million in damages for alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Judge Klausner, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, ultimately dismissed the suit’s claim that athletes on the Women’s National Team have been underpaid in comparison to players on the Men’s National Team in violation of federal anti-discrimination law. “In sum, Defendant has offered evidence in support of its Motion for Summary Judgement that the WNT has been paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than the MNT over the class period,” he ruled from U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. But he did not dismiss allegations that U.S. Soccer violated Title VII, which protects employees against discrimination based on characteristics such as sex. He said the plaintiffs can move forward with its claim that female athletes have been subjected to unequal working conditions, paving the way for their argument to go to trial as soon as next month.

Sounds like Judge Klausner made a reasonable and prudent ruling here, and should be commended for it.  The only question we have is..  Who the hell does Joe Biden think he is?  A dictator?  What on earth could he POSSIBLY do as a President to “intervene?”  Someone needs to remind crazy ol’ Joe that here in America we have three SEPARATE branches of government, and that presidents (executive branch) cannot interfere with the judiciary; basic American civics 101.  Either he’s too senile and forgot that, or he really thinks his base is too stupid to not know that.  For the rest of us, we’ll just roll our eyes and call him out for his outrageous, inappropriate and very UNpresidential comments.  For more on this story, click on the text above.

Solo suspended from US women’s national team after ‘cowards’ remark

U.S. women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo was suspended Wednesday for six months by U.S. Soccer for disparaging comments about Sweden following the Americans’ early departure from the Rio Olympics. Solo called the Swedes “a bunch of cowards” for focusing on defense rather than attacking the three-time defending champion U.S. team. Sweden ousted the U.S. 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw in a quarterfinal match. U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said Solo’s comments were “unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players.” “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect,” Gulati said. “We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.” The 35-year-old Solo, who was previously suspended for 30 days early in 2015 for her conduct, will not be eligible for selection to the national team until February. Solo was a lightning rod during the Olympic tournament, irking fans in Brazil when she posted a photo of herself covered with mosquito netting and armed with insect repellant on social media. Fans booed her mercilessly and hollered “Zika!” each time she kicked downfield. Then she caused a stir with her “cowards” comment. Sweden’s coach Pia Sundhage, who led the U.S. team to gold medals in Beijing and London, replied by stating: “It’s OK to be a coward if you win.” Solo has been making headlines throughout her stellar career. Last month, she became the first goalkeeper with 100 international shutouts when the United States defeated South Africa 1-0 at Soldier Field in Chicago. It was also her 150th career win. Solo won her second straight Golden Glove Award for the best goalkeeper at the Women’s World Cup a year ago. Over the course of the tournament in Canada, she had five clean sheets and allowed only three goals in seven games. Solo was among the U.S. players who filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for wage discrimination, saying the men’s national team players have been paid much more than many on the women’s team, which for years has out-performed the U.S. men on the international stage. More recently, she’s called for better conditions for players in the National Women’s Soccer League.

A disappointing fall from grace, to be sure.  While Hope’s comments about the Swedish team were unfortunate, they were said in a moment of frustration following an unexpected loss.  With instant social media, there is no opportunity to check yourself or pause.  Once you say something, it’s out there, and can’t be taken back.  And, to be fair..The Swedes played kinda dirty.  It’s no excuse for what Hope said.  But, there is some context..  Hope is a fighter, and a ridiculously good goalie.  Somehow I doubt we’ve seen the last of her.