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Megan Rapinoe: USWNT, USMNT Are 'Just Kind of Cash Cows' for U.S. Soccer

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 9/5/2019 Jenna West
© Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

U.S. women's national team star Megan Rapinoe continues to speak up about the wage disparity issues in her sport.

Rapinoe, who is featured in InStyle's upcoming October issue with her girlfriend WNBA Seattle Storm star Sue Bird, addressed the ongoing battle for U.S. Soccer to pay its players higher wages.

"We're sick and tired of being disrespected," she said. "It's not even really about equal pay per se. It's just what we're worth and what is fair. It's always being looked at as, 'Oh, this is what you deserve, so you should be happy.' Well, no one's happy about it."

"I've said this for a long time, but I think the men deserve to be paid more too," she added. "I don't think the federation is blatantly that sexist. If they're not paying us what we're worth, they're certainly not paying them what they're worth. It's not a great-run business in my opinion. We're both just kind of cash cows [for the federation]."

Rapinoe's latest comments come less than one month after mediation talks between the USWNT and the U.S. Soccer Federation ended. The two parties had agreed to mediation before the end of the 2019 Women's World Cup, which the USWNT won.

On March 8, a group of 28 players brought a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, which accused the federation of "institutionalized gender discrimination." The lawsuit highlighted not only pay issues but others like medical treatment and transportation.

The union representing the U.S. men's national team released a statement supporting the USWNTPA after the lawsuit was filed.

"The United States National Soccer Team Players Association fully supports the efforts of the US Women's National Team Players to achieve equal pay," the statement read. "Specifically, we are committed to the concept of a revenue-sharing model to address the US Soccer Federation's 'market realities' and find a way towards fair compensation."

Rapinoe also told InStyle that she's excited for the level of interest surrounding women's sports these days but she would like to see more fans at games.

"I don't understand why, if you're a soccer fan, you wouldn't want to come and watch the best," she said. "So, until someone can tell me a better reason than fans just don't want to come to watch women or companies just don't want to pay women or don’t see potential in that, then it's just sexism to me. People are always asking me how to better the state of women's sports, and I’m like, 'F------ go to the games.' "


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