In a pointed message about unequal pay, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team wore their warmup jerseys inside out during the national anthem before their match against Japan on Wednesday.
When worn inside out, U.S. Soccer Federation’s logo is obscured, but the four stars ― representing each of the team’s World Cup victories ― remain visible.
The players reversed their uniforms back to normal for the game, the final match of the SheBelieves Cup tournament (which they won).
Last year, 28 members of the team filed a lawsuit demanding equal pay and benefits that are offered to the men’s team.
U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro apologized Wednesday after facing backlash over court documents that were published by BuzzFeed News. The court filings showed that attorneys for the U.S. Soccer Federation claimed the women’s team should not be paid equally because the men’s national soccer team players carried “more responsibility” and possessed greater skill than their female counterparts.
While the men’s national team has never won in either major international title, the women are four-time Olympic gold medallists and World Cup champs. Despite being more successful, women’s players make an average of $30,000 less than the men and receive significantly smaller bonuses for World Cup participation.
Sponsors, including Deloitte and Coca-Cola, called the comments in the federation filing “unacceptable and offensive.”
Women’s team co-captain Megan Rapinoe rejected Cordeiro’s apology:
Rapinoe also took to Twitter Wednesday to mock the comments about female players’ lesser skills and responsibilities: