Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

US Women's Soccer Loses Key Part of Discrimination Case, with Judge Focusing on Men's Entitlement

Not Even the USWNT Could Beat Male Entitlement

In the fight for equal pay, the hardest thing to beat is not a judge or corporation or a piece of case law. It’s an attitude. The real opponent is a fearful illogic that says to grant a single dollar to a woman for her excellence somehow comes at the expense of a man. That illogic, that unreasoning resistance, is written all through Judge R. Gary Klausner’s latest opinion on the U.S. women’s soccer pay discrimination case, a ruling that is a setback — for now — to the idea that gold medal-winning American women should make a merely equitable wage for better and more work.

 

All you have to know about Klausner’s ruling is that it leads with and lingers on the men’s national soccer team and what it doesn’t get. You stare at the page, mouth agape, wondering whether your eyes are seeing right. Why, you wonder, is Klausner going on about men? Where are the women? Where are Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd?

 

Ahh there they are. On Page 3. Halfway down.

 

As you read on, you realize that Klausner has not really ruled here. He has just stewed. For 32 pages he mulls with an ill-concealed agenda over the nerve these women had to ask for things. Things the men don’t have. Things that have nothing to do with the case.

 

If you had to summarize the ruling in a sentence, it would be this: The real victims are men.***

 

Klausner has gone one better than U.S. Soccer officials, who at least are up front in their sexist argument that the women’s game is inferior and so players aren’t entitled to more. Their counsel literally argued “market realities are such that the women do not deserve equal pay.” Former chief Carlos Cordeiro flatly admitted in 2017 in a public statement, “our female players have not been treated equally.”

 

Which provokes Klausner’s most offensive contortion of all. Just because U.S. Soccer officials admitted that women players are paid less “does not make it true,” he writes. 

See also Wash Post, Judge Rules Against U.S. Women's Soccer Team in Equal Pay Dispute

[F]ederal judge R. Gary Klausner, ruling in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Pasadena on Friday, was unpersuaded by the women’s legal case for that demand. Klausner rejected the U.S. women’s soccer team’s argument that it has been underpaid relative to the U.S. men in the gender-discrimination suit filed in March 2019.

 

In a ruling delivered late Friday, Klausner sided with the players’ employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, which argued the claim of unequal pay based on gender discrimination should be dismissed.

Klausner ruled that the players’ additional claims of unequal treatment in terms of travel, medical staff and training equipment can go forward. A trial is scheduled to begin on those questions June 16

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/gender_law/2020/05/us-womens-soccer-loses-early-decision-with-judge-focusing-on-mens-entitlement.html

Equal Employment, Judges, Sports | Permalink

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