US women's star Megan Rapinoe and Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber ripped US Soccer for language in a court filing opposing equal pay for the US women's national team.
The US Soccer Federation made the gender claims in papers filed this week in the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the US Women's national team against USSF in March of 2019.
The latest heated dispute in the US women fight for equal pay -- $66 million in back pay under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act -- came when the USSF argued hostile environments faced by the men's team are “unmatched by anything the Women's National Team must face.”
The federation also argued that “The job of (a men's national team) player (competing against senior men's national teams) requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength than does the job of (women's national team) player (competing against senior women's national teams).”
US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro issued an apology for the “offense and pain caused” by the court document language on Wednesday, hours after being ripped by major sponsor Coca-Cola.
“We are extremely disappointed with the unacceptable and offensive comments made by US Soccer,” the Coca-Cola Company said.
The latest responses to the filing ranged from anger and shock from Garber to disappointment in the case of Rapinoe.
“We have sort of felt that those are some of the undercurrent feelings that they've had for a long time,” Rapinoe told ESPN after a 3-1 victory Wednesday over Japan.
“But to see that as the argument, as blatant misogyny and sexism as the argument against us, is really disappointing.”
Garber found it astonishing.
“When I saw the media reports of US Soccer's recent filing, I was shocked and angry,” he said Thursday.
“I expressed to (Cordeiro) in no uncertain terms how unacceptable and offensive I found the statements in that filing to be.
“Those statements do not reflect my personal view, nor do they reflect the views of the Major League Soccer... I intend to immediately address this issue with the US Soccer board of directors.”
Rocco Commisso, chairman of the minor-league New York Cosmos, condemned what he called “shocking and offensive comments” by USSF and said Cardeiro should step down.
“The federation's view that the women's game is inherently inferior to the men's is, in my opinion, clear evidence that the years of discrimination against women is not due simply to financial conflicts of interest but also to a deep underlying prejudice against women players,” Commisso said.
“For the good of the game, Carlos Cordeiro and every member of the US Soccer Board should immediately step down.”
Both sides in the court fight have requested a summary judgment seeking a ruling in their favor before the May 5 trial date.