It seems like a fair and reasonable demand: pay the World Cup-winning women’s soccer players the same as their male counterparts – who didn’t manage to win a World Cup victory. But in this age of political correctness, I suspect there is more at play here than just parity of wages at the international level.
Five women from the U.S. national side got the ball rolling last month by filing a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo used figures from U.S. Soccer’s 2015 financial report to show that they are paid just about four times less than players on the men’s team.
The AP reported that their EEOC filings showed:
— Each female player received $30,000 for reaching the women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015; each male player got $68,750 for reaching the men's World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
— Beating Japan in the final, the women’s team received $2 million as tournament winners. Reaching the Round of 16, the men’s team got $9 million.
The argument against equal pay is that more people watched the men play in the World Cup than watched the women’s World Cup matches in Canada in 2015.
According to FIFA, one billion viewers watched Germany become World Cup champs by beating Argentina, 1-0, and 3.2 billion viewers watched the entire tournament.
The whole Women’s World Cup attracted 764 million viewers. Not bad, but only about one-fourth the men’s viewing figures.
The numbers simply don’t add up to being equal just as the men’s – and the women’s professional game nowhere near equal. Nearly all attempts at making a success of women’s professional soccer have so far been a failure.
The public has voted with its feet and eyes and wallets, and people aren’t yet that interested in watching the women’s game.
Never one to miss a chance of showing her “creds,” Hillary Clinton, the front-runner in the Democrats' race for the presidency, recently spoke up in favor of equal pay for the women’s team.
She reminded a round-table discussion on equal pay for women that the U.S. women’s team won the World Cup and Olympic Gold, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We noticed that our men’s team hasn’t yet done that,” she added. “Yet somehow the men are making hundreds of thousands of dollars more than our women.”
Mrs. Clinton should mind her own business when it comes to soccer.
Going forward, yes, U.S. Soccer should reward the women’s team more than it currently does for winning the World Cup, but equal pay, no. At least not until it’s commercially viable, and the soccer world watches the women’s game with the same fanaticism as they do the men’s.
This is a slippery-slope argument and, knowing the destructive aims of the PC police, I worry the equal pay argument could be used to push for mixed pro teams or some other insanity and, therefore, the destruction of soccer as we know it.
Video of the week
Watch as up-and-coming U.S. international Christian Pulisic, 17, scored his first professional goal with German team Borussia Dortmund last weekend as they beat Hamburg SV, 3-0.
Ben Evansky reports for Fox News on the United Nations and international affairs.
He can be followed @BenEvansky