POLITICS

Fox News' Jesse Watters: Soccer Women's 'Unpatriotic' Behavior Hurts Equal Pay Fight

"People aren't going to watch," he claims. The Women's World Cup final drew a 22% larger audience than the men's game last year.

Fox News host Jesse Watters insisted Monday that the battle for equal pay by the U.S. women’s soccer team isn’t helped by players’ “unpatriotic” behavior.

“The point is ... that the women are not helping their case by their behavior,” Watters said of the Women’s World Cup victors on “The Five.” “If you go out and you disparage the president and you act in unpatriotic ways and then complain about not getting paid equally, well, what do you think is going to happen?” he asked. “People aren’t going to watch.”

That means the “ad revenue comes down, that means their overall revenue comes down, and they can’t divvy up the same amount of money,” Watters added.

Fox Sports reported that the Women’s World Cup final drew 14.3 million viewers — almost 20 million across Fox TV and associated streaming services. It was the most-watched English-language soccer match (of either gender) in the U.S. since the last Women’s World Cup final in 2015.

Viewership for the final was 22% larger than for the final of the men’s World Cup last year, which drew an audience of 11.44 million.

Women’s team co-captain Megan Rapinoe made waves when she declared that she wouldn’t go to the “fucking White House” if invited by President Donald Trump, whom she has called a racist and misogynist. She said later that the Trump administration “doesn’t fight for the same things we fight for.

She was scolded in a responding tweet by Trump not to “disrespect” the country, the White House or the flag.  

Rapinoe, who is gay, defended her patriotism, telling reporters that she’s “uniquely and very deeply American” — and that she “stands for honesty and for truth.”

Women’s soccer teams have long fought for equal pay in the World Cup competition. The total prize money for the Women’s World Cup this year was $30 million, while it was $400 million for the men last year.

The gap is particularly acute in the U.S., where the women — who have now won four World Cups — outshine the men and draw larger American television audiences. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that games featuring the U.S. women’s team pulled in more revenue in the three years since their 2015 World Cup win than games played by the U.S. men’s team.

The women’s team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation in March.

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