Moments in Gate-keeping Excellence

13-06-2019 05:06


USA v Thailand: Group F - 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France

That’s the sentiment from many quarters of ostensible fandom as the United States of America’s Women’s National Team in association football (WNT) dominated their given opponent, the WNT from Thailand, and as they celebrated for and with each other in that dramatic, lopsided victory (13-0).

Gatekeeping around these ladies by the haters is nothing new.  Here, it’s being told the right way to celebrate with each other.  Other times, it’s being told to accept whatever pay men deign to pay them.

A WNT, five members of which (Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, current captain Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Sauerbrunn) had to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the United States Soccer Federation of wage discrimination in April 2016.

Yes, it was less than three years ago that men were policing the pay of these excellent women the way many are policing their celebrations today.

Then, those five petitioners pointed out that men’s national team (see ESPN’s Taylor Twellman on the condition of the pathetic MNT)  receive a $5,000 bonus for a loss in a friendly match, while women (winners of THREE Women’s World Cup titles – including the first Women’s World Cup in 1991 – FOUR Olympic gold medals – including the first Olympic women’s soccer tournament in 1996 – EIGHT CONCACAF Gold Cups, and TEN Algarve Cups., mind) receive nothing for a loss or a draw.

When the teams win, the men receive as much as $17,625, but women only receive $1,350.

Quite simply, that’s fucking unacceptable.

Want an additional example?  When the WNT placed second most recently in their World Cup, they were awarded $1.8 million, split evenly among the 24 players on the team. The men’s team?  They made it only to the round of 16 that year; however, they were awarded $5 million.

Really FIFA?  Really U.S. Soccer?  Go fuck yourself.

In 2014, when Germany won the Men’s World Cup, the US team was awarded $35 million by FIFA, while the women received 5% of that for their Cup victory in 2015.

In the post-Blatter era of FIFA under Infantino, this – THIS! – is the clearest issue.  Shape sponsorships so that if you want to gain access to what, today, is the “popular” piece of your content, you MAKE sponsors buy into the WHOLE package, and distribute equitably.  THAT’S global leadership.  But the absence of that leadership is part of the reason we’re here, and gives cover to the feculent leadership at U.S. Soccer to hide behind (see my piece on the changes we needed during the U.S. Soccer election on this site).

In any context, the gatekeeping around WNT members celebrating each other’s performance is pathetic and hateful.  In the light of how we’ve failed to support their pay and work equity?  It’s the height of the ludicrous.

Listen and understand: with everything these women have fought for on AND OFF the pitch, with all that they battle for and the domestic unfairness they work to overcome on a day to day basis, get the hell out of their face when they go abroad and celebrate and care for each other when they demonstrate excellence.

Get behind them, on pay AND play, or leave them the hell alone.

Mel Brennan