Tony Kendall

I’m not normally one of those rah-rah-for-my-country types, unless my country is taking part in and winning some international sporting event like the Women’s World Cup.

USA, USA, USA!

Watching the American women take on and defeat some of the best teams in the world during the last 30 days was very enjoyable for this sports fanatic, especially since they did it with a whole bunch of swag and pizzazz, a dab of on pitch (field) arrogance as well as a pinch of controversy here and there.

When they defeated Thailand 13-0, some criticized their post-goal-scoring celebrations after the ninth one as being more than a little over the top.

Being a longtime fan of cocky athletes, I didn’t have a problem with any of their celebrations.

I’ve always believed that if you don’t want a player or a team to celebrate too much, stop them from scoring.

Many of the goals scored in the blowout against Thailand were by women who were playing in their first World Cup match. Why should their enthusiasm and excitement during such a memorable moment in their athletic life be curbed?

And besides, Thailand had seen almost as many goals on the scoreboard before.

In matches last year against Indonesia and Cambodia, they posted shut out wins of 13-0 and 11-0.

The other controversy came courtesy of one the team captains, Megan Rapinoe, who describes herself as a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration.

In May during an interview done before the team left for France, where the World Cup was being played, she answered a question if the team would accept an invite to the White House if they won this way, “I’m not going to the … White House.”

When rabbit-eared President Donald Trump became aware of the comment, he Tweeted that he was “a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but that Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job! We haven’t yet … invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose.”

When asked Tuesday about the flare-up with the president, Rapinoe said that she held up her end of the bargain.

In a later interview, she was asked what her message to Trump would be.

She replied, “I think that I would say, ‘Your message is excluding people, You’re excluding me. (Rapinoe is openly gay) You’re excluding people that look like me.

“‘You’re excluding people of color. You’re excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you.

“‘I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have, and what you’re saying about, “Make America great again.” I think you’re harking back to an era that was not great for everyone.

“‘It might have been great for a few people, and maybe America is great for a few people right now, but it’s not great for enough Americans in this world.

“‘And I think that we have a responsibility, each and every one of us — you have an incredible responsibility, as the chief of this country — to take care of every single person, and you need to do better for everyone.”

While a White House visit might be a big deal for some, I’m sure Rapinoe and her teammates aren’t spending much time pondering: Will he or won’t he invite us? They’ve got bigger idiot men fish to fry.

In March, each of the team members signed on to a wage equity lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

These women who have won back-to-back World Cups, are paid far less than their male counterparts.

According to their lawsuit, from 2013 through 2016, women’s national-team players could earn a maximum of $4,950 per “friendly,” or non-tournament, game that they won, while men’s national-team players earned an average of $13,166 for the same thing.

And though a new collective-bargaining agreement was reached in 2017 that reportedly bumped up the women’s salaries (the exact numbers are not public), the pay from the USSF to its male and female athletes is still not equal.

Up until recently, it could be argued that the men and women’s team were not operating on similar playing fields on and off the pitch.

Despite their lack of success at the international level in the last 29 years, the men were generating more revenue compared to the women.

Since 2015 when they won their third World Cup, the women have generated far more revenue and profits for the USSF than the men.

The men failed to qualify for the last World Cup and has won only one game in the knockout round in the last 20 years of tournament play, but are paid like the winners they aren’t.

A player on the women’s teams earns a base of $3,600 per game, while a men’s player earns $5,000. The teams play at least 20 friendlies in a season. That works out to be $72,000 a year per woman and $100,00 per man.

The maximum bonus for a women’s player is $1,350 per game. Male players can earn a maximum bonus of $12,625 per game, depending on the level of their opponent, and the average bonus is $8,166.

On average, the men would each earn $263,320. The women, by contrast, would earn $99,000 each.

The differences in pay start when the roster is decided and carry through the end of the season. Men earned $55,000 for making the roster of the U.S. World Cup team in 2014.

Women, by contrast, earned $15,000 for making the roster of the 2015 U.S. World Cup team.

U.S. Soccer awarded the men’s team a $5.375 million performance bonus for losing in the round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup. It awarded the women $1.725 million for winning the 2015 World Cup.

They defend their actions by blaming FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, which gives men’s teams that participate in the World Cup more money than they do the women.

The company that makes Luna nutrition bars is covering the difference in bonus pay for the 23 American women.

If you read and watch things other than right-wing media, the wage discrepancies between men and women in this country isn’t a surprise.

Here are the numbers as of this year, according to statistics from the U.S. Labor Department and the Institute for Women Policy Research:

In the U.S. labor market, a woman’s median weekly earnings in 2018 was 81.1 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

The gap is bigger for women of color. Compared with white men’s median weekly earnings in 2018, Hispanic women earned just 61.6 percent and black women earned just 65.3 percent.

Some researchers believe the wage gap is widening and may be bigger than what’s being reported.

 

TWO OTHER RIVETING SPORTS

Two other sports also had me riveted to the television this past week, the tennis tournament over at Wimbledon and the free-agent period for the NBA.

Fifteen-year-old American Coco Gauff had me mentally waving my U.S. and my African-American flag.

Yes, right-wingers we have one. It’s red, green and black. Google it if you want to know why.

Gauff, who was the youngest player to ever qualify for the main draw, made it to the fourth round before bowing out to Simona Halep, former world No. 1 player.

She began the tournament by defeating her hero, Venus Williams, in the first round.

If you know me, you know that because of Murray State’s Ja Morant being the second pick of last month’s NBA draft I was looking forward to the upcoming season.

After watching the different free-agent chips fall in the place the way they did, the season can’t get here soon enough for me.

One-third of all NBA players will be wearing new team uniforms next season, as will 10 of the top 20 players.

Heading the list of top 20 players moving elsewhere are the following champions:

Two-time champion and two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, formerly of Toronto via San Antonio; two-time champion and former league and two-time Finals MVP in his own right Kevin Durant, formerly with Golden State; and the mercurial Kyrie Irving, formerly of Boston and champion with Cleveland.

 

Hi, Momma Lois.

 

TONY KENDALL of Hazel is a writer, teacher, actor, playwright and sports fanatic. He can be reached by email at bottomwriter@yahoo.com.

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