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The United States women’s national team was granted class status in its gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, a small victory in the ongoing legal battle. The players speak out about the issue regularly, but some want to see more said by their counterparts.
Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger want USMNT to speak out
Reporter Lindsay Gibbs spoke with USWNT players Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger at last week’s Athlete Ally Action Awards about the lawsuit for her Power Plays newsletter out Monday. Harris, a goalkeeper on both World Cup champion teams this decade, didn’t hold back and called out the United States men’s national team specifically for a lack of vocal support.
“How often do you see the men's national team saying, ‘You know what? That is f—ed up. These are the best players in the world,” Harris said.
Krieger, nodding along throughout the rant, added, “Not one tweet.”
Gibbs reported that she found nothing in her research of men’s players giving public support for the women’s team. Several men’s players told Yahoo Sports’ Doug McIntyre they support the women last spring, but there have been few instances otherwise.
Harris also noted that the men’s team players don’t take stances on much, if anything. The women’s team has long been a walking stance for equality.
The USMNT players association did release a statement in response to a factsheet U.S. Soccer released in July trying to prove the women’s team had been paid more than the men. The players association disputed those numbers, slammed the federation for focusing on revenue and not growing the sport, and stated the “women’s national team players deserve equal pay and are right to pursue a legal remedy.”
Ashlyn Harris: Men’s voices are missing in fight
Harris called out the men’s national team by name, but her point encompassed all men, whether they are soccer players or not. Via Gibbs for Power Plays:
“I think at the end of the day, we need men to step up, and we need these men to see our value and to see our worth and take a stance and say, ‘You know what? This is not okay. We need to make a change and our children need to make a change.’ And I think that is right now the f—ing thing that's missing,” Harris said.
“It's like, we can inspire women all day, we can give them courage to live their truth and speak up and create change, but we need men to follow the same guidelines. I need boys and teenagers and adult men to really value and appreciate these women who are giving so much but just f—ing aren't treated the same. You know, at the end of the day, they're just not f—ing treated the same. We're not valued the same as our male counterparts,” Harris continued.
For things to change, the people in power have to make the change and the people in power are typically men. The 19th Amendment passed because of male allies, and while we’d all like to think a lot has changed in 100 years, the fact that women need male help in changing law has not.
They also need male support in flipping societal norms, stereotypes and overall equality. We tell our girls all the time they can be whatever they want to be. But society doesn’t tell boys that girls can be whatever they want to be. It creates a schism in which girls take stances, fight for change and battle for equality while boys sit back and watch because they may not appreciate or recognize the imbalance.
Where does the USWNT equal pay fight stand?
The team was granted class status this month in his lawsuit, meaning any woman who appeared in a national team camp or game since Feb. 14, 2014, can now join the class-action suit.
It was validation for the national team and the players who are named on the suit since it showed the case is being taken seriously. A trial date is set for May 5, 2020, after mediation talks broke down in August.
As the U.S. team fights for an equal pay structure from their federation, women’s teams around the world are making those gains themselves and countries are showing there is interest in the sport with attendance records being set.
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