I generally don’t follow soccer, but one recent story caught my eye. I do read the “Monday Morning Quarterback” NFL weekly report written by SI.com’s Peter King. Like any good sports journalist he’s a Radical Leftist, and at the end of his Monday morning pieces he sometimes inflicts those views on his readers when he throws down an assortment of random, non-football related thoughts. This past Monday he included this blurb on the US Women’s National Soccer Team (emphasis mine):
Good for the U.S. Women’s National Team, fighting for equitable pay with the men, particularly now that—according to their complaint filed Thursday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—the women are projected to produce higher revenue than the men over the next two years. Great example of the disparity pointed out by Five Thirty-Eight: Men’s star Clint Dempsey earned $428,022 in the 12 months that ended March 31, 2015, a time period that includes the U.S. men’s team losing in the World Cup round of 16. Women’s star Carli Lloyd earned $240,019 in calendar year 2015, during which time the U.S. women won the World Cup and Lloyd was voted the player of the tournament (she was also named FIFA women’s player of the year for 2015). Plus: Maybe it’s me, but the women winning the World Cup last year, at least in my New York neighborhood, generated as much excitement in the local places as the men advancing in the World Cup the previous year. They deserve the equal pay.
I’m always skeptical of any stats that lefties present to support their arguments, since any good Lefty flees in terror at the sight of good data. If you’re wondering why the rvenue surge in 2016 for both sides, it’s because 2016 is a World Cup year, always big for interest in the sport. Click on the image if you want to see the Twitter post and a few good questions that follow, such as “What about TV broadcasting revenues and advertising revenues i.e. what sponsors pay for an ad in men’s WC vs women’s WC?” I’m also not sure what accounts for why interest (and accompanying revenue) in the women’s team is expected to pass the men’s, and if the total revenue that they generate exceeds the men then they should be paid accordingly. But I’m skeptical, as buried in the same article is this pesky detail:
The 2014 men’s World Cup generated approximately $4.8 billion in revenue for FIFA. Revenue for the 2015 Women’s World Cup have yet to be reported but will certainly be much lower.
Even that fiercely conservative bedrock known as The New York Times could not avoid mentioning:
U.S. Soccer officials pushed back forcefully on the players’ claims in a conference call Thursday night, citing figures that the federation said showed the men’s national team produced revenue and attendance about double that of the women’s team, and television ratings that were “a multiple” of what the women attract, according to Sunil Gulati, the U.S. Soccer president. A federation spokesman, Neil Buethe, called some of the revenue figures in the players’ complaint “inaccurate, misleading or both.”
Look, I fully appreciate equall pay for equal performance, but that doesn’t take into account production. If, for some inexplicable reason, the Cleveland Cavaliers hired me to play basketball alongside LeBron James, it is highly unlikely that I would be paid the same as him. First off, the presence of one of the greatest all time players in NBA history assures more fan interest in attendance, TV viewership along with its accompanying ad revenue, and of course, merchandise sales – both of James jerseys and of Cavalier gear in general that having a winning team with a high profile player generates. Second, even if I attend all of the same team meetings, watch as many hours of game film on opposing players, hustle just as hard as LeBron in practice, and put in as many minutes on the court as him on game day, it is highly unlikely that I would actually produce as many points, assists, and rebounds, and most importantly – wins for his team, as James. In fact, putting my on a court with some of the best players in the world would probably have even the Washington Generals cringing at my ability to compete. It is also highly unlikely that anybody will be coming to the arena, turning on their TV, or most heartbreakingly, spending their hard earned money to wear a Brother Bob jersey. So based on my value to the team it makes sense that I would be paid less, or more likely, not given a roster spot at all.
And that brings me to a solution that’s so simple even a radical feminist could see it – abolish the women’s soccer leagues at every level. Wait a minute, wouldn’t women be denied the chance to play? Not at all! Men’s teams would be opened to women as well, and all that the women have to do is be able to compete on the same level as the men. Those who do will be paid accordingly, and those do do not will join their male counterparts to watch on the sidelines, and get an after tax salary of zero. There would be no gender quotas, no lowering of standards – if you’re the best you earn a spot. Years of history have taught us that there’s a reason why men and women compete in different leagues, and the most basic evidence for the fact that there are physical differences between men and women is that the hard core feminists aren’t calling for the abolition of all women’s leagues and world records that are lower than those of men. But for those women whose soccer performance is comparable to their male counterparts, they should be paid comparably.
And lest anybody think I’m some sort of Bobby Riggs (whose story is more interesting than many people realize), I have no doubt that if I were to face off against Hope Solo on a soccer pitch she would smoke me with ease. And that is why I fully support her being paid more to play soccer than me – I don’t think that a less talented, lower performing player should be paid more than her based on gender – that would be sexist!
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog