The unions for the United States men’s and women’s national soccer teams have reached a new collective bargaining agreement to equalize compensation rates for all players on both teams. This agreement comes five years after the women’s national team signed their previous CBA, which at the time was heralded as an incredible achievement. Even Megan Rapinoe stated, “I think the [Women’s National Team Players Association] should be very proud of this deal and empowered moving forward.” Two years later, the women’s national team sued U.S. soccer.
The reasoning? The U.S. women’s soccer team desired all of the upside of the men’s CBA agreement, such as higher bonus payouts, without losing the unique aspects of their deal i.e., base salaries and health benefits.
U.S. Soccer Federation president, Cindy Parlow Cone (no relation), called this new CBA, “a truly historic moment.” Historic, perhaps, but also nonsensical. We all must admit a simple truth: the men’s national team has historically driven more revenue even when they lose than the women’s team has when they’ve won.
In the previous World Cup cycle, the lowest performing men’s team won more prize money than the first place women’s team. That isn’t due to discrimination – it’s due to commercialization. This is not sexism – it’s capitalism.
Should LeBron James split his $41 million salary evenly with Diana Taurasi because she went to the WNBA finals while James failed to reach the playoffs?
For the World Cup, FIFA assembles a bonus pool which comprises revenue from TV rights, sponsorships, and ticket sales. The various teams in the tournament then split these funds based on performance. The pool for the 2022 men’s World Cup will exceed $400 million dollars; the women’s will only total $60 million. Yet, US soccer plans to distribute the total equally to each player on the men’s and women’s teams.
If the United States women’s soccer team earned seven times the revenue for winning their World Cup than the men’s team earned by losing, would we even hear a whisper about “equal pay?” I think not.
The irony here is palpable. While many countries completely prohibit women from competing on soccer’s grandest stage, Americans encourage, support, and cheer on our women…as we should! This support has helped produce the best team in the world!
Now, unfortunately, our support has been met by woke federations demanding “equal pay”, and disregarding altogether free market forces.
The double standard is clear; if women earn more than men, this is well-deserved and meritocratic, in contrast, if men earn more than women, we need to institute a quota system to ensure “equality.”
If our women’s soccer team truly consists of strong, independent women, they shouldn’t need the men’s team to supplement their salaries.
Regardless of the tactics, however, it’s clear these women won the battle. As often is the case, people don’t get out of life what they deserve, they get what they take – and these women went out and took. All the while, the men’s team seemingly sat back and nodded yes to a collective agreement which takes money out of their pockets – not to mention that for the moment the women’s team continues to enjoy additional benefits the men do not, such as injury protection, child care, and parental leave.
So when I’m asked if I believe United States men’s soccer will ever be competitive in the World Cup, forgive me when I laugh hysterically. If you fail to fight when someone takes your meal ticket, how can you fight competitors?
In closing — be grateful… don’t be a victim.
The United States of America is a country which values the dreams and ambitions of our women. No, it’s not perfect, and, yes, there are frustrations aplenty, but I encourage all to maintain an attitude of gratitude, especially those who represent America at the highest levels.
David Cone is a co-host of Crain & Company at the Daily Wire. He is also a former quarterback for the University of Michigan. Follow David on Twitter.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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