In a stunning turn of events following the intense backlash to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s latest filing in the lawsuit brought by U.S. Women’s National Team Players for equal pay, USSF President Carlos Cordeiro announced his resignation tonight, effective immediately. USSF Vice President Cindy Parlow Cone will take over as President.
The lawsuit documents were filed as part of motions by each side for summary judgement and mostly followed lines of argument that the USSF has been using for months, namely that the men and women agreed to different CBAs; that the women have a larger guaranteed base salary and other perks which are not offered to the men; that the USMNT and USWNT don’t work in the same “establishment” due to having different leadership hierarchies and opponents; that some aspects of compensation are under FIFA’s control rather than USSF; and most notably for tonight’s news, that that there is an inherent gender-based difference in skill and ability between the men and women, which means that no comparison can be made between the two in terms of compensation.
That final argument is similar to one which USSF has made in previous filings, but these documents (and the related transcripts of depositions which came out in the past two months) more explicitly argued that the women are fundamentally inferior to the men and therefore don’t deserve equitable pay and treatment.
In the last two days a majority of key USSF sponsors have released statements condemning the language, as have many former USMNT and USWNT players. Before the SheBelieves Cup finale last night, the USWNT players demonstrated their displeasure by wearing their warmup shirts inside out, showing just the embroidery of the four stars and outline of the badge. They later released that design as a shirt, with proceeds supporting the USWNT Players Association.
Toward the end of last night’s game, a statement was released by Cordeiro distancing himself from the language, claiming it was not something he personally believes or would support. He also argued that he didn’t have time to fully review the filing before it was submitted. However, this seems dubious given that the USSF board would need to sign off on any arguments being presented on their behalf by their law firm, even if they didn’t review every specific detail of precise language.
As of now, no parts of the USSF’s 2,162 page filing have been withdrawn, and it remains to be seen if USSF will adjust course under Parlow Cone’s leadership. Notably, no one within USSF has claimed responsibility for proposing or approving of the inferiority argument.