The World Cup-winning U.S. Women's National Soccer Team's victory tour has become one of the hottest tickets of the summer, but the team's fight with U.S. Soccer Federation to be paid the same as the men's team (who win fewer games) broke down in mediation after a day. Now out co-captain Megan Rapinoe has said, "We won't accept anything less than equal pay."
"We show up for a game. If we win the game, if we lose the game, if we tie the game, we want to be paid equally, period," Rapinoe said on Thursday's Good Morning America.
Following the USWNT's World Cup victory in June, the crowd in the stadium in Lyon, France, chanted "equal pay" as FIFA (soccer's international governing body) President Gianni Infantino took to the field to congratulate the women. Calls for equal pay for the USWNT began trending on Twitter at the time.
In March the team filed suit in U.S. District Court against their employer, the Federation, on the grounds of "institutionalized gender discrimination." Now that mediation has folded, the case will play out in court.
As it stands, the women make approximately $30,000 less annually than the U.S. men's soccer players, who don't win championships as the women have. The women's team has nabbed four World Cup titles and three out of the last four Olympic gold medals in soccer.
The lawsuit asserts that the success of the USWNT has "translated into substantial revenue generation and profits" for the Federation. "During the period relevant to this case, the WNT earned more in profit and/or revenue than the MNT," according to The Washington Post.
Rapinoe and teammate Christen Press also appeared on CBS This Morning, where they discussed the swift breakdown of the mediation attempts.
Negotiations broke down because the Federation won't move toward "equality," Press said.
"It's very simple for us. I mean, it's not just about us, and it's not just about this moment," she said. "We're trying to do this on behalf of women everywhere, to be treated respectfully and paid lawfully."
The Federation sent a statement to CBS News alleging that "instead of allowing mediation to proceed in a considerate manner," the team's counsel took an "aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach" to mediation.
"That's not true," Rapinoe said. "That's definitely not true. We set the posture, as the players, in our talks ... and we came ready, willing, and prepared to have that conversation."
"At any point, when they're willing and ready to come and have a serious talk about equal pay, we're always willing to listen to that," Rapinoe added.
"It's actually about women everywhere being treated equally and respectfully in the workplace," Press said on GMA. "And so if that means that we're going to go to trial, then we're going to do that, and we're going to do it very confidently."