What makes the USWNT’s fight for equal pay “beef” instead of just a labor dispute? Was it when Mia Hamm threatened to retire in 1999 because the head honchos wouldn’t let the team go on a victory tour? Little bit.
Was it when one of the guys cutting their checks essentially said he was proud of being a chauvinist? Yep, uh huh.
It was also beef when U.S. Soccer got pretty sexist in an official court filing.
Oh, and when federation lawyers asked Carli Lloyd if the women’s team could be competitive with the men’s and she replied, “Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?” That was beef.
Those are just four random examples I pulled from the nearly three-decades-long beef. I can’t keep listing things, I’ll run out of characters. And spoil the video.
My point is the contentious fight for equal pay elevated into beef. Not just because the women’s team was denied equal pay to the much less impressive men’s team, but because the women’s team was disrespected along the entire way.
We know how this beef ends– the U.S. Soccer Federation, helmed by new president Cindy Parlow Cone, agreed to an equal pay structure between the men’s and women’s teams. The women won, but that doesn’t mean U.S. Soccer lost! Finally doing the right thing isn’t losing! There aren’t losers in this beef. The push for equality even got the men’s team a childcare benefit, there really are no losers.
But at the same time, it’s not a totally happy ending. Because why did it take 28 years of beef for the 4x World Cup champion USWNT to get respect from their own employer?