Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan spoke out about a judge's disappointing equal pay ruling
Equal pay for men and women athletes seems like a no-brainer, but, unfortunately, it’s an ongoing battle. In the past year, the U.S. women’s soccer team used its rise to success and subsequent media attention as a platform to fight for equal pay and shine a light on disparate working conditions. Now, after a disappointing ruling from a federal judge, team captains Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan assured everyone that they’re still fighting.
According to NPR, the team first filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in March of 2019, arguing in part that “the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts. This is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players.” The lawsuit was filed just months after the U.S. men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018 and just months before the women’s team won the 2019 World Cup.
Just last week, Federal Judge R. Gary Klausner dismissed the team’s claim for equal pay. He also rejected a claim of unequal working conditions related to the number of turf and real grass pitches, NPR reported. Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the women’s team players, was quick to express her disappointment with the decision and also make it clear that they had no plans of backing down.
“We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender,” she tweeted.
Team co-captain Rapinoe retweeted Levinson’s messages and shared her own: “We will never stop fighting for EQUALITY.”
On Monday, Rapinoe and fellow co-captain, Alex Morgan, gave remote interviews on Good Morning America, expressing how shocked they were by Friday’s court ruling.
“This decision was out of left field for us,” Morgan said. “I think for both sides it was very unexpected, so we will definitely be appealing and moving forward. If anyone knows anything about the heart of this team, we are fighters, and we’ll continue to fight together for this.”
The interviewer also asked how Rapinoe felt about the explanation behind the judge’s ruling, which claimed, in essence, that the women play more games, so, ultimately, they get paid more. Rapinoe responded, explaining that doing more work for less money wasn’t the same as making more money.
“If I earn one dollar every time I play, and a man earns three dollars, just because I win 10 games and he only wins three games—and so I make $10 and he made $9—I’m not sure how that’s me making more money,” she said.
Morgan delivered a final message to fans and sponsors, thanking them for their support and assuring them that the fight isn’t over.
“This [court ruling] is definitely a hurdle in the road, but it’s nothing that’s going to stop or deter us from what we have always been true to—and that’s true equality within this sport. So we are still feeling optimistic and we’ll get through this.”