While Rapinoe kneels, I will stand behind U.S. women’s soccer for equal pay

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The U.S. women’s soccer team continued to make the celebratory victory lap last week, accepting a nation’s appreciation for their impressive performance in the Women’s World Cup.

They’ve created a legitimate conversation whether women deserve the same pay as men, and they made a compelling case by winning all seven games by a combined score of 26-3.

More than 14 million people watched the Americans beat the Netherlands, 2-1, to win the gold. And according to Fox, the gold medal game had a peak audience approaching 20 million.

Last year, 11.6 million watched the men’s final between Croatia and France. In fairness, ratings dropped because the U.S. men aren’t as good as the women, and they proved that when they failed to qualify to participate in last year’s World Cup.

But the question remains: Should all women’s teams be paid as much as men’s?

No.

In the case of the U.S. women’s soccer team, they deserve more.

Every athlete deserves to be paid what they’re worth. The women’s soccer team deserves more because they’ve proven to be a better team than the U.S. men’s team.

The pay scale should be based on results, ticket sales and ratings, not gender.

The U.S. women’s team gets a checkmark in all three areas. And they did in the most-prolific way possible – on the field.

The women’s team is a more valuable franchise than the men’s team, and they should be paid as such. The fact they generally make 38 cents on the dollar compared to the unproductive men’s team is an embarrassing reminder that we, as a society, still have a lot of gaps to close.

It was all right to bring their cause for awareness to an event, and they let their work on the field do most of the talking.

It wasn’t right for a single athlete to exploit an event as a personal protest.

While I paid attention to the game through social media, I wasn’t one of the 14 million who watched on television because I’m tired of Megan Rapinoe’s selfish tantrum distracting from all the good her U.S. teammates accomplished. She doesn’t like President Donald Trump. She wants to advocate for LGBTQ rights. And she refused stand or put her hand over her heart during the national anthem.

Rapinoe is proud to admit she’s “a walking protest.”

That’s fine, but protest on a street corner, not the soccer field. There’s a time and place for everything. Megan Rapinoe wasn’t more important than her team’s athletic mission.

The 34-year-old winger/midfielder scored six goals during the World Cup to be awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. Cameras were so fixated with her arrogant and sanctimonious behavior tournament officials overlooked the real outstanding player – goalie Alyssa Naeher. She held opponents to just three total goals in seven games, and she stopped a game-tying penalty kick by England’s Steph Houghton in the semifinals that preserved U.S.’s 2-1 victory.

Rapinoe was protesting against the red, white and blue – all while representing the red, white and blue. If she was so disgusted by the social climate in the country, she could have made a more-significant statement by refusing to take a spot on the team. Muhammad Ali gave up his heavyweight championship in 1968 to protest the draft and Vietnam War.

Her teammates made great strides for both soccer and gender equity, and they did it while Rapinoe was dividing the country with her self-interest agenda.

For me, I will stand for the national anthem – and our women’s national soccer team.

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