Megan Rapinoe on Mediation Ending: 'We Won't Accept Anything Less Than Equal Pay'

Jenna West
Sports Illustrated
Megan Rapinoe on Mediation Ending: 'We Won't Accept Anything Less Than Equal Pay'
Megan Rapinoe on Mediation Ending: 'We Won't Accept Anything Less Than Equal Pay'

U.S. women's national team stars Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press are speaking out just one day after mediation talks between the team and the U.S. Soccer Federation ended.

Rapinoe and Press appeared on Today and Good Morning America on Thursday to discuss their fight to be paid equally as the men's national team. Both agree that the next move belongs to the Federation in the ongoing battle to settle the issue.

"They're the only employer that we could have playing for the national team, we're the only employees that they could have, so for better or for worse we're tethered together," Rapinoe said on Good Morning America. "I think that if and when and ever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward, we're always open to that."

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Mediation talks between the two sides ended in New York on Wednesday after several days of meetings. The two parties had agreed to mediation before the end of the 2019 Women's World Cup, which the USWNT won. On March 8, a group of 28 players brought a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, which accused the Federation of "institutionalized gender discrimination."

"I think it's quite simple from our perspective," Press said. "We want to be paid equally and that just means that when we show up to a game that we get compensated the same way that a man would for showing up for the same game."

Rapinoe added: "We won't accept anything less than equal pay."

The Federation released a statement on Wednesday saying the athletes took an "aggressive" approach and presented "misleading information" to the public on the issue.

"Instead of allowing mediation to proceed in a considerate manner, plaintiffs' counsel took an aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach that follows months of presenting misleading information to the public in an effort to perpetuate confusion," the statement said.

We always know there is more we can do. We value our players and have continually shown that, by providing them with compensation and support that exceeds any other women's team in the world. Despite inflammatory statements from their spokesperson, which are intended to paint our actions inaccurately and unfairly, we are undaunted in our efforts to continue discussions in good faith."

Press said the team will take the issue to trial if needed.

"It's actually about women everywhere being treated equally and respectfully in the workplace so if that means that we're going to go to trial then we're going to do that, and we're going to do it very confidently."

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