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Post Pay Equity in Sports
Created by John Eipper on 07/17/19 3:25 AM

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Pay Equity in Sports (Francisco Ramirez, USA, 07/17/19 3:25 am)

Whining over pay disparity?  (See David Duggan, July 15th.) Really? There are no Messi/Ronaldo superstars in the United Soccer League. You may want to distinguish between whining and activism, ultimately legal action. "Deal with it" sounds a tad too flippant.

Why do you think that pay disparity at Wimbledon has faded? The profound British sense of fair play miraculously materialized? Think activism.

Still, I am glad you paid attention. I confess that soccer is the only sport in which I fully root for the American side, both the women and the men. The men's game has improved over decades. I no longer refer to the league as the secret witness protection program for over-the-hill stars (though there are some notables and I would not be surprised if Ronaldo ends his career with the Galaxy in Hollywood.) I actually saw World Cup matches at the old Stanford Stadium in the early nineties. July 4 was the US Brazil game. If you thought the Dutch women played defensive soccer (what the Italians call Catenaccio) you should have seen The Wall the US team put within the penalty area. I was with my daughter who played soccer in grade school (I coached both my daughter and my son) and she innocently asked why is the US team not moving up. My response: this is a high school team playing against a professional team. They (We?) are shamelessly playing to get to the penalties (the was a round of sixteen match). It was scoreless at half time and we played one up in the second half because a Brazilian paler was ejected for throwing an elbow at the American player who was grabbing his jersey. Alas, Tab Ramos was the only payer who actually had a serious attempt to score. One up was not enough, and the game ended with Brazil winning 1-0. I saw the final match between Italy and Brazil while I was in Germany. That game went into penalties and ended when Roberto Baggio missed his penalty shot. I followed the game through television in Spanish and the announcer chanted Se Lo Comió Baggio. Se Lo Comió Baggio. (JE can translate.)

For Eugenio: in São Paulo there is a museum dedicated to soccer. Perhaps you have one in Italy as well. You can see video of the best shots, the best saves, and the best penalties. Baggio's over the cross bar is in there for all to see. There are no references to Paolo Rossi who nailed Brazil a World Cup in Spain. In another room one can experience the tragedy of the loss to Uruguay in Maracana. Pele's voice-over translated into English: at the memo net the heart of Brazil stopped. I teared up. These people really care.

I also tear up at the prospect of the UK losing its foreign players and coaches. Pray assure me this will not happen. How can I do the treadmill if the Premier League becomes the Sub Prime League?

More on what Catenaccio really means in practice. Hint: Check out what the Spanish women's team did to Alex Morgan every time she touched the ball. That was a collective effort and not just a single player doing a high kick.

I favor pay equity.

JE comments:  Billie Jean King was at the forefront of the struggle for pay equity.  The women's prize money for major tennis tournaments used to be in the three digits.  Yes, activism changed this.

Francisco, I agree with you, but how would the economics work to bring equity to the "big" sports?  I'm thinking basketball, and particularly, soccer.


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