U.S. women's soccer team deserves greater financial support
Jun 18, 2019 | 1:30 PM
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Monday morning, I plodded into the kitchen at 11 a.m. for a late, summer break breakfast when my mother asked me if I wanted to read something that would really make my blood boil. I, as usual, said sure, and sleepily began to read the “Readers Respond” letters to the editor column in The Baltimore Sun. My first response, being the easily offended, active 13-year-old chatterbox of a feminist that I am, was as follows: What in the world is wrong with these crazy humans? Or, in more eloquent and appropriate terms for a written piece, why are they belittling the women’s soccer team without any acknowledgement of the societal and systemic problems that cause the women’s team to be struggling, both attention-wise and financially? There is more to the story than just factually correct numbers and percentages because dollar signs and digits on a page do not and cannot have the ability to explain and dismiss sexist ideas and constructs that affect the sports world in particular.
According to Rex Fisher, women are, in fact, paid more due to a higher percent of their generated revenue being given to them as payment (“Male athletes are paid more because they are stronger and faster — and more people watch them,” June 13). What Mr. Fisher did not emphasize was that the money the women were being paid was only a little bit less than 3% of what the male players received. This is because, despite the women’s obvious superior skills, they do not receive the attention and funding they deserve. Why do they not get these? The answer is actually underneath Mr. Fisher’s argument, in the response by John H. Bowen (“Nobody cares about women’s sports,” June 14).
This is one of the most common assumptions about sports. People do, in fact, care. I know I do. Actually, the last World Cup game the U.S. men’s team played against Belgium in back in 2014 drew only 51,227 attendees, according to the match report on the FIFA website. The last women’s World Cup game before the current tournament, which happened to be the final game against Japan brought in a crowd of 53,341 cheering fans as listed on their FIFA match report. But if the women’s team is just as popular or maybe even more popular than the men’s team, why is it bringing in less revenue? Think about it. Women’s sports in general do not receive the same advertising and publicity that men’s teams do. The USWNT’s complaint states that the USSF does not provide “equal promotion of their games.”
The solution is not as simple as Mr. Fisher says it is. While “convinc[ing] the world to buy more women’s merchandise, buy more tickets to women’s matches and watch more women’s games on TV” is a good idea in theory, whose fault is it if people aren’t watching women’s games? Certainly not the players. They play their hearts and souls out and win (many more games than the men, I might add), and do everything in their power, including their lawsuit, to gain the respect and attention they deserve. What really needs to happen is that we fans need to do everything in our power to give these athletes their well-earned appreciation.
When someone says that women’s soccer is not “on the same level” as men’s soccer, don’t blame it on them! Maybe if they had access to the same level of challenging training as men, they would be on that level, but by separating the genders based on centuries-old beliefs of female inferiority does nothing more than add to their struggles. But for the time being, these women just want to be compensated for their efforts! In the world of sports entertainment, the fact that the women’s team might lose against the men’s team is irrelevant. All that matters is that these women play and they play well. The quality of their playing is just as appealing as the men’s. And I have one request for all of the people reading this: All I ask of you is that you let us ladies try because we can and will prove it to all you sexist pigs out there. We are strong, brave, smart, and amazing. And if you can’t see that, you can just stop taking that out on us because we deserve so much more.