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Success and Pay Not Correlated in U.S. Soccer

The  U.S. Women’s National Team has made the latest move in an ongoing dispute over the  unfair treatment they receive from the United States Soccer Federation. The five most renowned players have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under which  they accuse the United States Soccer Federation of gender discrimination. Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Alex Morgan and their lawyer Jeffrey Kessler- who defended Tom Brady in the infamous “Deflategate”-  have stepped forward citing the wage gap between the men’s national team and women’s national team to be unfair considering the success the women’s team has had. Even though the five women are the ones who filed the complaint Sauerbrunn states, “the decision to file was wholeheartedly supported by the entire team.”

The United States Soccer Federation has argued that the reason behind the women’s pay is that they negotiated for a salary based system over the bonus system that the men negotiated to have. Even so, according to Kessler the team has “a very strong case of blatant gender discrimination.” The statistics support Kessler’s claim; the wage gap between the two teams is incredibly high. Each member on the women’s team will make about $1,350 if they win, and if they lose they get nothing. On the other hand, the men’s team could each make up to $17,625- depending on how high the opposing team is ranked. Even if they lose, the men’s team is still looking at making $5,000. So, even after losing a game the men’s team still makes $3,650 more than what the women’s team makes for winning. Since each team is required to play at least 20 friendly matches it’s very obvious that in the end the wages won’t even come close to each other. Imagining that the women’s team wins all 20 games they would make $27,000 each, and if the men do the same they could make up to $352,500. If the men’s team lost all 20 games they would still be making $100,000, which is still $73,000 more than what the women’s team would make for winning all 20 games.

The United States Soccer Federation also argues that the five team members and their lawyer have picked the most successful year for women’s soccer and it is resulting in misleading conclusions. Yet, the Women’s National team has brought in a revenue of $17.7 million, much more than what the Federation had anticipated. The Women’s World Cup Final was also the most watched soccer game in United States television history with  25.4 million views. With three Women’s FIFA World Cups, four olympic gold medals, winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup seven times, and one Algarve Cup- one of the most prestigious women’s tournaments-, Carli Lloyd rightfully states “I think that we’ve proven our worth over the years.” Dates for any action that will occur with the complaint are still being negotiated.

Bengals Beat Themselves

 

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Martavis Bryant scoring style points with this touchdown catch.

Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

Continuing their postseason trend, the Cincinnati Bengals were eliminated from the playoffs after the Wild Card Round, falling 18-16 to their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is now the fifth year in a row Marvin Lewis’ Bengals have been one and done in the playoffs.

Despite nothing exciting really happening for two and a half quarters, the game delivered its fair share of narrative changes, drama, and boneheaded miscues that befit a primetime wild card game, especially one featuring division rivals with lots of bad blood between them.

For most of the evening, it looked as if the Bengals were headed towards their next quick exit from the playoffs. Sans their MVP-caliber quarterback, the Bengals offense failed to effectively move the ball down the field and was shut out for three quarters. However, after a well-timed pass interference penalty, some good runs, and a fantastic AJ Green catch, the Bengals established a lead over the Steelers by one point with less than two minutes left.

With their own starting quarterback being held to the sideline after being checked out for a shoulder injury, the Steelers also had to rely on their own backup, Landry Jones, to win the game.

He responded by throwing an interception.

The win was all but wrapped up for the Bengals. They had the ball with only a minute and a half to go, they were in Steelers territory and easily could build upon their lead with a touchdown or even a field goal.

That’s when the boneheadedness began (yes, it even deserves a made up word to describe it).

The Bengals fumble the ball right back to the Steelers, giving them one last sliver of hope. Perfectly encapsulating the “if you want something down, do it yourself” mentality, the Steelers starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger came back into the game to try and lead his offense to the game winning field goal.

With seconds left on the play clock and twenty yards to go to get to field goal range, Roethlisberger delivered a strike to Antonio Brown which fell incomplete; but, the Bengals were flagged for unnecessary roughness and fifteen yards were gifted to the Steelers. To cap off the utter meltdown, a scrum ensued after the play which led to another penalty on the Bengals. The Steelers kicker converted the kick and the Steelers won the game, capping off one of the ugliest meltdowns in playoff history.

Giving the ball away and committing unnecessary penalties doomed the Bengals. They were in prime position to pull it off and change a four year narrative, but for some reason couldn’t find it in them to deliver. The headlines will read that the Steelers beat the Bengals, but it feels more like the Bengals beat themselves.
Now the Steelers will go on to face the Denver Broncos next Sunday the 17th, while the Kansas City Chiefs, winners of their game earlier in the day, will go on to face the New England Patriots on Saturday the 16th.

On a separate note, Steelers wide receiver, Martavis Bryant, treated us with possibly the catch of the season, catching a pass with both his hands, then corralling it with one hand and the back of his leg, then getting both feet down for a touchdown… and then finishing it off with a front flip to hold onto the ball. The play was a great show of athleticism and is truly a “you gotta see it to believe it” catch.