Thank The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team For Illuminating The Muddled Ethics Of Wage Gap Arguments In Women’s Professional Sports

News item (April 5, 2017):

The U.S. women’s soccer players’ union and the sport’s governing body have agreed to a five-year collective bargaining agreement, improving standards for the national team and pro league and ensuring labor harmony through the next World Cup and Olympics.

In a joint statement, the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association and U.S. Soccer Federation said they have “ratified a new collective bargaining agreement which will continue to build the women’s program in the U.S., grow the game of soccer worldwide and improve the professional lives of players on and off the field. We are proud of the hard work and commitment to thoughtful dialogue reflected through this process, and look forward to strengthening our partnership moving forward.”

The sides had been operating under the terms of the previous deal, which expired Dec. 31. In recent years, the players have raised issues about compensation and working conditions compared to their male counterparts, casting a shadow over the efforts of the most successful women’s team in soccer history and pitting the federation against wildly popular athletes, such as Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan.

In March 2016, the players  filed a federal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charging the USSF with wage discrimination. The case remains active.

Now this, from a day before:

In preparation for two upcoming friendlies against Russia, the U.S. women’s national team played the FC Dallas U-15 boys academy team on Sunday and fell 5-2, according to FC Dallas’ official website. This friendly came as the U.S. looked to tune up before taking on Russia on Thursday night in a friendly.

Ethics musings:

1.  CBS immediately provides cover, writing,

“Of course, this match against the academy team was very informal and should not be a major cause for alarm. The U.S. surely wasn’t going all out, with the main goal being to get some minutes on the pitch, build chemistry when it comes to moving the ball around, improve defensive shape and get ready for Russia.”

No, there’s no cause for alarm, because maybe the Russian women’s team would lose to amateur teenage boys too. But the women have loudly and indignantly insisted that they should be compensated at the same rate as the men’s soccer team. On what basis? If it is that the women’s team makes as much money as the men’s team (it doesn’t), OK, that’s a valid point. If it is that their skill, performance and level of play require equal pay, I think it is clear that facts and reality are not on their side.

2. If the women were not going all-out against the kiddie team, they are fools and ethics dunces. They have a pending demand before the EEOC that they are being discriminated against; surely they recognized how it would look if they lost. No? Is it possible that they are so arrogant and ideologically programmed that their position is that women should be paid what the men are even if their skills are a fraction of what  the male players display?

3. Perhaps the women were counting on the social justice warrior-riddled sports reporting establishment to cover for them by largely burying this story, which it dutifully did. Mustn’t let reality interfere with feminist posturing, right, ESPN? Can you imagine what the coverage would be if the NBA star-stuffed U.S. Olympic basketball team lost a “friendly” game to to a high school team? How about to a high school girl’s team?

4. Why shouldn’t a group of talented 15-year old male soccer players announce that they are henceforth identifying as female, and take over women’s professional soccer? What would be wrong with that?  Would it be unethical? The various progressive tenets are inevitably going to collide messily, since they are based on reaching desired results in defiance of, rather than in response to, reality.

5, The U.S. Soccer federation doesn’t want to rock the boat, and maintaining the fiction that female players are “just as good” as their male counterparts is a nice, reassuring white lie to encourage girls to get involved with team sports, a good thing, unequivocally.  However, the pros are obligated to either live up to their hype, or stop insisting that we believe it.

6. The women should be offered a fair chance to earn what the men’s team does if they can also earn roster spots on the men’s team. Otherwise, they should accept the consequences of playing on a team that is limited in competition because of the limitations of its players—just like, say, an under-15 boys soccer team.

17 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Sports, U.S. Society, Workplace

17 responses to “Thank The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team For Illuminating The Muddled Ethics Of Wage Gap Arguments In Women’s Professional Sports

  1. Wayne

    Who are they kidding. Playing against a bunch of Mexican-American young guys and expecting to win? The guys team has been doing this since they were 5 year old kids.

  2. This is rich… equal pay for an equal job… when the job (and skills) are equal.

    Years (decades) ago, I was a trainee engineer for a large company. Part of the job was installation of large racks of equipment involving a fully stocked tool box, weighing between 35 and 50 pounds.

    Many of the buildings we installed in did not have elevators, so you carried tools and supplies up flights of stairs.

    Another trainee was a slip of a girl, likely 125 lbs soaking wet. She was good once on site, but could not carry her own toolbox up a single flight of stairs, or help when major upper body strength was needed to move equipment into position. Yet she got the same pay and incentives the guys did, for less work (she sat around while the guys lugged stuff up the stairs.) There was no offsetting brilliance that compensated for her lack: just plain competent work when she could perform it. Don’t think the guys did not grumble about doing her work in addition to theirs!

    To add insult to injury, she was promoted out of the field first because a)she was black; b) she was a she; and c) the work supervisors wanted a stronger person working the jobs (they did not get extra time to do the job when she was on the crew, either) and could not fire her because of the optics of a) and b). This was a corrupt form of the Peter principle, and my first exposure to such.

    Another take: in the Army, each person in a platoon must carry his weight and be able to carry a wounded teammate to safety… unless that person was female. Females could not carry their own equipment, depending on their role, and most likely could not carry a man out of battle. And the standards by which they are judges are not the same. You must be able to pass a fitness test of a certain number of push ups, sit ups, and be able to run two miles under a certain time. This scale slides down by age (an 18 year old must do more than a 35 year old to pass, and rightly so) but the scale is significantly reduced for a female soldier. So a female might be able to do 12 push ups, but get a higher test score for those than an 18 year old who could do 40 push ups)

    Now in many jobs this will not matter (how often will a clerk or radar operator be called on to run two miles, for instance?) but these test scores impact promotions and therefore pay. It also places less capable people in the line of fire (remember the female caught by insurgents while driving a truck?) when everyone needs to pull their weight. This policy places lives at risk, on a social engineering (progressive) pipe dream.

    Telling girls they can do anything is good: let them try. However, should they fail, explaining that if they cannot compete on a level playing field they should try something else is anathema today. Instead we lower the standards, bend the rules, and make exceptions at other’s expense. BOYS are told to pound sand until they can perform better every time they do not make the football team: there is a standard one must meet to participate, and this makes for the best team possible.

    The sexes have different strengths. Neither is better than the other, just gifted in different areas. When we ignore those differences we do a disservice to everyone.

    • Here's Johnny!

      “Telling girls they can do anything is good. Let them try.”

      Not to quibble with slickwilly, whose overall point I agree with, but no, it is not good to tell them that. Likewise, it is not good to tell any kid they can be anything they want to be.

      In both cases, it is a lie. The speaker knows that. The kid knows, or soon will figure it out.
      It is good, however, to push kids to achieve more than they think they can. It is good to help kids set goals which stretch their abilities and explore opportunities they didn’t realize were there.

      But, do anything? No. Be anything? No.

      I would no more tell a girl that she could be an offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills than I would tell her to forgo any thoughts of ever being president. The latter certainly would be a challenge, the former a complete fantasy.

      Telling girls, or anyone, what they can do must pass the tests of possible and realistic. Anything else is just blowing smoke.

      • Johnny,

        We agree in principle, but I suspect not in approach. Let me elaborate:

        My autistic kid wanted to play football. I took the child through some light field drills, sans the abuse, foul language, and jeering class mates.

        He decided it was not for him.

        Had I TOLD him so, he would have been worse off for the experience, going into try outs without knowing the price. As it is, his dignity and self esteem are intact, and we arrived at the same place with less drama.

        If my girl REALLY wants to be an offensive lineman (lineperson?) for the Buffalo Bills, I will help her work to that goal until she figures out it is a bad idea. (I will chuck my cookies in private, that my genetics could want to work for Buffalo, but just the same)

        Ever tried to tell a teen anything? Better to let them figure it out, with some judicious guidance from Dad to minimize the impact of failure.

        • Here's Johnny

          Yep, a difference in approach (maybe), but I like your approach with your kid and the concept of letting them discover for themselves what they actually could do. I would not discourage kids from trying, and I would look for ways to help them try, but I would not tell them they “could do anything.” I’ve spent a lot of time in high school (not just trying to graduate, either) and in one goal-setting session, a teen stated she wanted to be able to fly like a bird. Since the goals had to be achievable and realistic, I had to help her think of how that could happen (ultimately, in a zero or low-gravity environment of some kind). But, I would not tell her that she could do anything she wanted.

    • Wayne

      One thing: My mos while I was in the army turned out to be personnel specialist because I could type. In basic as I recall, in the a.m before breakfast we were called upon to run about 2 miles. That ended when I started my advanced training. However, if I had been shipped overseas I might well became a rifleman and winding up running two miles with a field pack. Not too many women can do this of course unless they are the GI Jane type.

      • luckyesteeyoreman

        Wayne, your and slickwilly’s comments re-validate my never-ending bitter resentment and anger about being denied the opportunity to earn parachute jump wings while in the military.

        In my day, and for the all-male group of troops in which I was tested, the standard for the physical fitness test to qualify for jump training included performing seven overhand pull-ups. I was given two chances, about 5 to 10 minutes apart. Each time, I did six pull-ups, but on pull-up number 7, I stalled with arms at less than a right angle bend at the elbow – with my eyes, but not my chin, over the top of the bar. No jumping for me.

        Ever since then, with the women who followed in later jump training classes – even jump classes that very same year – I was sure of this: very few of those women were able to do 7 pull-ups. Out of my desire to avoid stoking and acting out my anger, I have never checked – and still, to this day, decades later, have never asked a female troop with jump wings: “What standards for the physical fitness test did you have to meet to get into jump training? How many overhand pull-ups were you required to do?” I know that if I received an indignant or snide reply, or even just an indignant look, it would take all my anger control to not reach out and rip the wings off the lady’s uniform, while yelling some indignant words of my own. But of course, I would be committing sexual assault – maybe, even, a hate crime, too. God, how I so resent double standards.

  3. Scott GF

    This seems like an easy question regarding the equality of pay since there is a easy line of difference. Everyone looks at the pay check. They should be looking at the business model and look at the ratio of how much gross money comes in compared to employee distributions. If they compare that and it’s out of balance then a correction makes sense.
    I do not agree using this one game as the basis of the equal pay argument.

    • I wouldn’t use it as the basis. It does create a rebuttable presumption, however. The Boston Red Sox play the BC or Northeastern baseball teams every Spring. The college teams usually lose by about 10-1, even with the Sox scrubs playing. Pros should beat amateurs, adults should beat kids, and if they don’t, that suggests a problem.

      • …adults should beat kids

        worked on me as a child… might stop special snowflakes from developing (or cure them)
        /snark 🙂

        The above was brought to you by the Main Stream Progressive Media, as an example of creating a false quote by removing context. (Hell, at least it IS a quote. Not like making quotes up like they did to Sessions this week)

    • Wayne

      Big surprise!

    • Steve

      Jack, I made a second comment on this post that I noticed didn’t make it when I was coming back to comment, not sure if the system ate it or it went top moderation, no links on the second one. The comment was about looking further into the history of the team and seeing if this has happened before, it has and it seemed like it is normal for them to lose too high school boys teams.

      • Ugh. I must have missed it when I checked the spam collection, so it’s gone. I’m sorry: I’ve been trying to keep up on the spam review so I don’t have to check hundreds of daily e-mails that begin “Howdy!” or have a hundred links to porno sites. WordPress hadn’t turned on a regular commenter for a while, so I guess I got complacent.

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