Devil In The Details
Congratulations are in order for the U.S. women’s national soccer team after they successfully negotiated a $24M settlement with the U.S. soccer federation. The team brought an equal pay lawsuit against the federation and had been pursuing a $66.7M settlement that included back pay and bonuses they felt they were owed, but $24M is still a helluva lot of money and is considered a win. The settlement also includes promises that the women’s soccer team will begin to receive equal pay and bonuses to that of the men’s team, which is a huge victory, but there is always a catch.
According to former player Hope Solo, this $24M settlement is contingent on agreeing and approving a new collective bargaining agreement between the players and the U.S. soccer federation. Similar to MLB, the current collective bargaining agreement has expired but an extension was granted until March 31. So unless this agreement is established, this is simply an empty promise and the settlement is not valid and won’t be paid out to the players. Solo unsuccessfully ran for president of the U.S. soccer federation in 2018, so she has the incentive to be critical of current president Cindy Parlow Cone, but what incentive does Cone have to omit this crucial detail from the news release of the settlement?
I’m sure this is only a coincidence, but Cone is up for re-election next week for her position as the president of the U.S. soccer federation. The election is being held on March 5, and her opponent is the person that held the position before her. Carlos Cordeiro was the previous president, but he resigned due to the equal pay lawsuit brought against the U.S. federation by the players that led to this proposed settlement in the first place. Cordeiro made several controversial statements about the women’s team not deserving equal pay with the men’s team because of physical attribute differences between men and women and resigned from his position in 2020 amidst mounting pressure from various sponsors. Cordeiro has been very vocal about the lack of resolution related to this lawsuit and essentially challenged Cone’s effectiveness at doing her job, culminating in his decision to run against her and regain his old position.
By releasing news of this settlement a literal week before the election, Cone is able to regain control of the media narrative surrounding her tenure as U.S. soccer president. Cone is able to directly address Cordeiro’s principal argument against her campaign for re-election and gain support from several key members of the women’s team, such as Megan Rapinoe, Julie Foudy, and Carli Lloyd. She’s able to use the positive public relations reaction to build momentum towards next week’s election and position herself in a better light to emerge victoriously. And in a way that will definitely appease the U.S. soccer federation, she doesn’t actually have to pay out any settlement of any kind until they get the terms they want in the new collective bargaining agreement.
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