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US women's soccer — in search of 'equal pay' with men for years — says offer to get same contract proposals as men akin to 'PR stunts'

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U.S. women soccer stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan during national anthem prior to game against Portugal in St. Paul, Minnesota, Sept. 3, 2019. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

On the hunt for "equal pay" with men for years, the organization that represents American women soccer players said the U.S. Soccer Federation's offer to make female players' contract proposals identical to male players' contract proposals is akin to "PR stunts."

"USSF's PR stunts and bargaining through the media will not bring us any closer to a fair agreement," the United States Women's National Team Players Association tweeted Wednesday in reaction to the offer. "In contrast, we are committed to bargaining in good faith to achieve equal pay and the safest working conditions possible. The proposal that USSF made recently to us does neither."

While the women's national team has been winning quite a bit more than the American men's team over the last several years, it's argued that female players don't earn as much as male players — and should. However, actual numbers aren't crystal clear, particularly due to how multiple revenue streams are deployed and differences in compensation structures (e.g., the women receive salaries while the men don't).

How did U.S. Soccer respond?

U.S. Soccer fired back at the women's players' association on Twitter: "An offer on paper of identical contracts to the USWNT and USMNT, and to discuss equalizing prize money, is real, authentic, and in good faith. A publicity stunt is a 90-minute one-sided movie."

What did star player Alex Morgan have to say?

U.S. women's forward Alex Morgan said her fellow players were cautiously optimistic, ESPN reported.

"We still need to chat about the statement given by U.S. Soccer. But any commitment to equal pay publicly is good," Morgan said Wednesday, the outlet noted. "However, we need to look line by line at what they're actually providing, because if you have equal but it's not even what we got before, or to the value that we are, then we still consider that to be not good enough."

Morgan added, "We don't want to start the new year without a new CBA in effect, so that's the number one priority of our PA, of our legal team. Looking at the [USSF] statements, it's difficult to say, we want to feel encouraged and we want to be optimistic, but we have seen a lot of statements before. What we really want to do is see what we can do at the negotiation table, see those statements be put into action in those negotiations. So of course we're always hopeful. Under the new proposal put forward by the USSF, it said it also wouldn't agree to a CBA with either team that didn't take the important step of equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money."

ESPN reported in a separate story that FIFA offered $30 million in prize money to the 2019 Women's World Cup teams — while in the men's teams in 2018 got $400 million.

More from the outlet:

The USWNT sued U.S. soccer's governing body in 2019 over allegations of gender discrimination in compensation and nearly every other aspect of its playing conditions.

Months later, the team won a fourth World Cup as fans during the final chanted, "Equal pay."

The lawsuit, which sought $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act, was dismissed, but the USWNT has since appealed.

The USWNT's current labor agreement expires at the end of 2021, while the men's team has been operating under the terms of a deal that expired in 2018.

Anything else?

In 2019, Carlos Cordeiro — then-president of U.S Soccer — responded to the equal pay lawsuit by saying USSF paid the women players more over the course of a decade even though the team has lost millions of dollars overall.

In 2020, U.S. Soccer apologized for arguing in court that women players aren't as skilled and athletic as their male counterparts.

The U.S. women's soccer team suffered embarrassing defeats at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this summer and failed to win an expected gold medal. In fact, many Americans rooted against the team over its propensity for anti-American kneeling protests prior to games.

Are the U.S. women's soccer team players paid less? The gender pay gap explained | The Fact Checker youtu.be

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