I would add to that title “And you know it,” but I’m not really sure United States Women’s National Team captain and star Megan Rapinoe do know it. She’s an extreme ideologue, and facts are just obstacles to activists like her. Even if it’s sincere, however, her ridiculous indignation—- because the defense to a legal action based on posturing rather than reality made a predictable and irrefutable point— is ethically indefensible, except on the basis that it worked.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen or heard of something quite like this. An opposing party has thrown a fit over factual representations in an adversary court filing, on the grounds that it’s mean to assert the truth, and people are taking that complaint seriously.
The United States Women’s National Team is suing U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination because the men’s team, they argue, is paid more “for the same work.” In its counter motion opposing the motion by the women’s lawyers for the court to grant them summary judgment—a routine and usually futile request—the lawyers for U.S. Soccer replied in part that
“The point is that the job of [a men’s national team] player (competing against senior men’s national teams) requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength than does the job of [a women’s national team] player (competing against senior women’s national teams).”
Never mind that the job of lawyers is advocacy, and that taking the position that the other side’s claims are hogwash is what lawyers do and are ethically bound to do when they defend a lawsuit. That statement was simple truth. The New York Times, predictably slanting the story to preserve its progressive bona fides (at the expense of its duty to give the news straight, but…you know), wrote that the motion argued that “the players on its World Cup-winning women’s national team were inferior to men.” No, it argued that they don’t play soccer as well, and they don’t.
Since there is no legitimate rebuttal to the argument, the women resorted to the PR equivalent of tears. United States Women’s National Team captain and star Megan Rapinoe claimed that the federation’s court filings had wielded “blatant misogyny and sexism”against the women’s team. Another spokeswoman for the female players called the federation’s argument “plain simple sexism” that “sounds as if it has been made by a cave man.”
Good one! But it’s pure grandstanding. There is no plausible argument that the women play soccer as well as the men, or that the men’s soccer product is not superior from a quality of play standpoint. It may be ungallant to bring it up, but the world champion U.S. Women’s National Team lost badly to an under-15 team of teenage boys in a scrimmage. Yes, that game was a lark, but imagine, say, the Washington Nationals losing a baseball game against a high school team. It wouldn’t and couldn’t happen. This happened because, as everyone knows, women athletes are not as large, strong or fast as male athletes at the same level or even lesser levels.
Serena Williams has admitted that she would not beat any of the top hundred ranked professional male tennis players. Female pro golfers tee off from a spot closer to the green than male pro golfers. All the male records in track and field events surpass all the female records in the same events. NBA players are so much superior to WNBA players that nobody would try to argue otherwise.
Nevertheless, after the over-the-top accusations of sexism, on-field protests by members of the women’s team, criticism from major U.S. Soccer sponsors and public condemnation by members of the organization’s board of directors, Carlos Cordeiro, the president of the United States Soccer Federation, groveled an apology for his organization’s lawyers’ undiplomatic words, and then resigned. Now a former female star soccer player, Cindy Parlow Cone, has taken over as U.S. Soccer president. Do you think she’ll have the integrity to tell the women players, the court and the world the unpleasant truth? Well who knows? Women have as much integrity and honesty as men, and there are chipmunks with more fortitude than her male predecessor, Cordeiro.
This is how woke causes keep succeeding: utter cowardice by officials, and an unwillingness to call fantasy fantasy and nonsense nonsense while opposing objectively wrong positions when their advocates are any kind of minority or belong to a sympathetic demographic. This lawsuit is particularly disingenuous. As Cordeiro explained before he slunk off into the night,
Over the past decade, U.S. Soccer has paid our Women’s National Team more than our Men’s National Team. From 2010 through 2018, U.S. Soccer paid our women $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses, and we paid our men $26.4 million — not counting the significant additional value of various benefits that our women’s players receive but which our men do not.
Yup, those shamefully mistreated women have been paid more than their male counterparts.
This suit, however, is about advancing an ideological ball, not soccer. The soccer issue could be settled easily: just have the men’s team play the women’s team in a series of, say, seven games, under the same rules with a healthy pot at stake, and watch what happens. The result would be embarrassing, of course, and thus would harm a U.S. Soccer product while disillusioning women’s soccer fans. It won’t happen, but the challenge should be made just to watch Rapinoe and her team mates posture and protest. It would, after all, be misogyny for the men to beat the living daylights out of her team, just like it is misogyny not to force lawyers to endorse politically correct myths for the benefit of the opposing litigants.