Mostly lost amid the coronavirus panic, women’s soccer has been back in the news – unaccustomedly, since no one generally pays any mind to it in the four years between World Cups.
U.S. Soccer plunged into hot water with the diversity police – especially corporate sponsors – for daring to 1) defend its women players’ equal pay lawsuit and 2) tell the truth.
It was once axiomatic in America: everyone’s entitled to a legal defense. Which involves addressing allegations based on evidence and elements of the governing law – here the Equal Pay Act, forbidding disparate compensation for work that “requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility … performed under similar working conditions.”
Accordingly, U.S. Soccer’s lawyers asserted that the men’s game requires a “higher level of skill” – more speed and strength – and “more responsibility,” competing in more tournaments with greater revenues and stronger ratings.
Cue the sponsors’ outrage. Volkswagen, Budweiser and Procter & Gamble protested. Visa demanded a meeting. Deloitte declared itself “deeply offended.” And from Coke: “unacceptable and offensive.”
Seriously? Since when is pointing out simple facts in a legal brief “unacceptable and offensive?”
Because the elevated skill and level of competition in men’s play are indeed simple – and indisputable – facts.
Put aside the proof point that the U.S. women lost to a 15-and-under boys developmental squad in 2017. After all, when the same happened in Australia, the predictable excuse was that top players were out and the women treated it as a practice.
But who won isn’t the point – it’s the rationale for the matches: “The Matildas often practice against high school-aged boys because they cannot find enough high-quality female competition to sharpen them for international competition.”
Got that? Top women pros scrimmage against still-growing adolescent males to stretch toward the mere lads’ power, speed and athleticism – and because there are just too few of them.
Close the massive, substantiated gaps between elite female and male players in size, strength, speed, endurance, jumping height and – “skill” alert – kicking velocity and accuracy? And the still exponentially greater interest in male sports globally?
How about arguing equal “working conditions?” Putting champion females on the pitch with even an also-ran male team (say, America’s men) could result in body bags. Don’t believe it? Women and girls playing each other are more prone to wide-ranging injuries – including suffering potentially deadly concussions at triple males’ rates.
Talk about a “knockout round.”
Meanwhile, as usual, women pushing for “equality” are trying to have it not just both ways, but every which way. At least part of their supposedly “unequal” pay results from a characteristically female risk-averse approach to collective bargaining: their agreement favored a more secure base salary plus bonuses, over bonuses alone. The women also receive a bigger share of a geometrically smaller World Cup pool.
And even as women players and their Big Business champions express deep affront at suggestions of differing skills, other female athletes acknowledge that the superior innate abilities of biologically male transgender competitors are leaving them “spectators of their own sports.”
But such truth-telling is now “offensive,” “unacceptable,” and essentially, outright banned, when it stands in the way of a higher political – and now corporate – objective. Not equality, the aspiration advanced by the women’s culture-bending 1999 World Cup win, but rather entitlement.
The same flavor of entitlement that, pursuant to Title IX, has eliminated more than 400 men’s college sports teams to make room for women. That has ensured that women now comprise some 60% of college enrollment (prima facie discrimination if it were men), and nearly the same percentage of all new jobs during the Trump administration. And that explains the deafening drumbeat to force-feed underqualified and less-interested females into STEM fields at males’ expense. (See: Google’s powerful internal feminist lobby v. James Damore.)
Might the women players deserve more money based on the value of their entertainment brand? They just might. But any such breakthrough should happen at the bargaining table, not via a gun-to-the-head discrimination lawsuit based on neither facts nor law – yet backed by politically correct buttinskis in Corporate America.
Nonetheless, bowing to new realities (read: sponsor dollars), U.S. Soccer fell on its sword: after apologizing for the – there’s that word again – “offense” caused by the lawsuit and vowing “immediate changes,” president Carlos Cordeiro abruptly quit. And was replaced on an interim basis by – conveniently – the first woman president of the federation, former player Cindy Parlow Cone.
Expect a settlement soon.
The final score: Entitlement 1. Truth, Justice and the American Way? A big, fat, zero.