Hope Solo had some choice words for Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe on Wednesday. The former U.S. goalkeeper used a Twitter thread to blast the USWNT players for Tuesday’s landmark settlement with the U.S. Soccer Federation, saying it was “an easy out of a fight they were never really in.” It highlighted the divide in opinion over whether the settlement was good or bad for women’s soccer in the U.S.
Solo’s comments came a day after the USWNT players and USSF agreed to a $24 million settlement to a lawsuit in which the players asked for $66 million. The deal is contingent on the Federation working out collective bargaining agreements with the USWNT and USMNT that are equal.
Having helped spark the current fight for equal pay in 2016 (though the fight has been going on for decades), Solo weighed in on Twitter, criticizing Morgan and Rapinoe. Solo was one of five USWNT players who filed a wage discrimination complaint in 2016. Members of the USWNT followed that up with a class action gender equity lawsuit in 2019.
It was that second suit that was settled by Tuesday’s agreement, and that settlement that sparked Solo’s attacks.
Hope Solo USWNT Settlement Response
Read the fine print. “Contingent upon the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement.” It doesn’t exist yet and isn’t guaranteed. If the players had ever been successful in negotiating an equal CBA, there would’ve been no reason to sue the Federation in the first place
His strategy to file the EEOC complaint was the boldest action any team had ever taken. It wasn’t an easy ask of anyone, and at the time, the decision went against the wishes of other players on the team now being called the “leaders” of this fight.
The players who got us to where we are today are people like Christie Rampone who stepped up to interview with the EEOC. She and I were the only two players to do so. Players like Christie, Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx,
It also guarantees nothing to the next generation of players. The equal pay case against US Soccer I filed on behalf of the Team long before the Team sued, still stands and I remain committed to fighting for all players — past, present and future.
Solo makes some good points, namely the fact the future of the USWNT hasn’t yet been determined. If no CBA is worked out, the USWNT has gained nothing for women’s soccer. There are also some understandable gripes about not being included in the backpay rewards.
Clearly there’s something the Federation and current USWNTers like about this agreement, but if Solo and other players can’t determine if this settlement is good or bad, what hope do the rest of us have? Well, as different subreddits highlighted on Tuesday, no one can agree on anything, especially on the internet.
For many, Tuesday’s agreement marked the end to a long and fierce battle waged by USWNT players for equal pay. The four-time World Cup champions — four more than the U.S. men — demanded they be paid fairly for their worth. The settlement will finally see the USMNT and USWNT paid the same, contingent on the USWNT and USMNT working out identical CBAs with the USSF.
It was major news across the country. Even Stephen Colbert, who doesn’t care at all about sports, used the end of his Late Show monologue to talk about it, pointing out the USWNT has a slightly better history of success than the USMNT.
The initial reaction from soccer fans was probably to celebrate. This ugly, public war has distracted from the beautiful game, and now American players can all concentrate on soccer without worrying about who is and isn’t being treated fairly. On Good Morning America on Tuesday morning, Morgan, Rapinoe and USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone all said this was a win for all sides.
Surely fans are happy now, right?
A quick trip to Reddit shows fans on all sides of the spectrum are upset, and for widely varying reasons.
Checking in with r/ussoccer, which is supposed to be the home for all things USMNT and USWNT but is dominated by the male perspective, we find scores of fans angry at USWNT players for screwing U.S. Soccer out of $24 million. Heading over to r/NWSL, a safer space for U.S. women’s soccer supporters, we find fans who are more in alignment with Solo, some scared the Federation’s deal is only a publicity stunt, with the end goal of screwing over future USWNT players.
Welcome to the internet, where no one is ever happy about anything. Even cat videos are tainted now, having become a tool of those who wish to spread misinformation.
USWNT Settlement Responses
A large, loud group in this male-dominated space argued the women were simply making a money grab, as elucidated by u/YOURMOMMASABITCH, with whom many agreed.
Some users sounded like Helen Lovejoy crying “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!” by proclaiming this money could have gone to disadvantaged youths or grassroots soccer.
There was a lot of complaining about the fact this was even a point of discussion. As we’ve explained in the past, there is a huge amount of hate for the USWNT, in part because the players have long used their platforms to stand up for social issues, including gender equity.
Others complained the USSF caved to the women just to make the whole issue go away. There’s some legitimacy to this argument, as a judge had thrown out most of the USWNT players’ complaints in 2020, though the judge’s arguments punished the USWNT for its own success.
There were far too many Redditors commenting with a clear misunderstanding of the issues, which I won’t repeat here. But I will say it’s another example of the misinformation out there in all areas, whether it’s about Covid-19 vaccines or U.S. Soccer financials. But hey, everyone wants to shout their opinion into the abyss, whether or not it’s supported by facts.
Of interest to me were the users who had wildly different views on public opinion of the USWNT. After one user said this has ruined the players’ reputations, others complained this has been a PR coup for the USWNT. Which is it? Well, as we’re seeing here, it’s a bit of both, with one half of fans happy for the USWNT players and the other angry that they even have the gall to exist and play soccer.
I particularly find it amusing the number of comments complaining about the media being on the USWNT’s side. The only side journalists are on is the side of the truth (note this doesn’t include propaganda outlets like Fox News, Newsmax, etc.).
Switching over to the folks at r/NWSL, we see an entirely different view of the events that took place Tuesday.
One of the top comments comes from u/tenthingsih8, who celebrated the news and proclaimed Cindy Parlow Cone as the clear choice to be elected USSF president this spring. (Parlow Cone was promoted from vice president to president when former president Carlos Cordeiro resigned in disgrace in 2020. Cordeiro is her opponent in this year’s election.)
There was a lot of celebration in r/NWSL, but there was also some handwringing since this isn’t yet a done deal.
A few fans admitted they have don’t trust the USSF is acting in good faith, worried the Federation is merely using this moment as a publicity stunt.
And then there was the section of fans that was just glad to be talking about this on r/NWSL and not r/ussoccer or r/MLS.
It’s clear no one can agree whether this settlement is good for anyone, even those directly involved in the issue. What we can agree on is that the internet is a horrible place for a debate, as r/ussoccer, r/MLS and r/NWSL all had comments removed for violating policies against sexism and misogyny.
In the end, how you feel about the U.S. Soccer settlement is probably based on your political leanings. If you believe women should be treated equally to men, you are probably hailing this agreement (assuming the equal CBAs are eventually signed). If you think soccer players shouldn’t stand up for social issues, you probably think this is all a bunch of bullshit.
It’s almost like the U.S. is a divided country. Imagine that.