Coca-Cola on U.S. Soccer: ‘unacceptable and offensive’

Coca-Cola criticized the U.S. Soccer Federation for saying in legal papers that women did not have the same responsibilities or physical ability as men on its national teams.

The Coca-Cola Co. called the statements by the federation in the defence of a gender discrimination suit “unacceptable and offensive.”

“We have asked to meet with them immediately to express our concerns. The Coca-Cola Co. is firm in its commitment to gender equality, fairness and women’s empowerment in the United States and around the world and we expect the same from our partners,” Coca-Cola said in a statement, first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Coca-Cola has been a long-term partner with the USSF as well as a global sponsor of the World Cup since 1974.

In court documents filed Monday in response to the players’ motion for a summary judgment, the USSF said the women claimed their ability level is the same as the men “by ignoring the materially higher level of speed and strength required to perform the job of an MNT player.”

“A reasonable juror could conclude that the job of MNT player requires materially different skill and more responsibility than plaintiffs’ job does, while also taking place under materially different working conditions,” USSF lawyers wrote. “The job of MNT player (competing against senior men’s national teams) requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength than does the job of WNT player (competing against senior women’s national teams).”

Molly Levinson, spokeswoman for the players in the lawsuit, said “this ‘argument’ belongs in the Paleolithic Era.”

“It sounds as if it has been made by a caveman,” she said in a statement. “Literally everyone in the world understands that an argument that male players ‘have more responsibility’ is just plain simple sexism and illustrates the very gender discrimination that caused us to file this lawsuit to begin with.”

The USSF did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Coca-Cola’s statement.

Players filed the gender discrimination lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles last year, claiming they are paid less than their counterparts on the men’s national team. The women are seeking more than $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and a trial is scheduled for May 5.

Both sides have moved for summary judgments, asking U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner to decide in their favour without a trial.

The USSF says disparities in pay between the men and women are the result of separate collective bargaining agreements with different terms. The women’s team receives salaries and benefits the men don’t.

In addition, the USSF cites FIFA’s World Cup prize money — $38 million awarded to the French Football Federation for the men’s title in 2018 and $4 million to the USSF for last year’s women’s title. The USSF claims it bases bonuses for the women in the tournament on the prize money the federation receives.

Procter & Gamble, which supports the USSF through its Secret deodorant brand, last year donated $529,000 to help close the gender pay gap: $23,000 for each of the 23 players on the U.S. World Cup roster.

Secret took out a full page ad in The New York Times that said: “We urge the US Soccer Federation to be a beacon of strength and end gender pay inequality once and for all.”

LUNA Bar said last year it was awarding each of the 23 women on the U.S. roster $31,250, the amount it said was how much more players on the men’s team earn for making a World Cup roster.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three more cases of COVID-19 found in Red Deer

Across the province, two more deaths have been confirmed

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools to lay off support staff June 1

Educational assistants at Red Deer Public Schools will be laid off June… Continue reading

Airport primed for expansion

Ambitious vision sees airport as air freight and aircraft servicing centre

Red Deer Food Bank getting support from Dr. Deena Hinshaw T-shirt sales

The Red Deer Food Bank will receive a big donation, thanks to… Continue reading

WATCH: Firefighters, RCMP help Red Deer boy celebrate 3rd birthday

Firefighters and RCMP officers helped a Red Deer boy celebrate his third… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Police in Saskatchewan charge man with killing his parents and son

Police in Saskatchewan charge man with killing his parents and son

PM, Scheer among MPs to donate pay hike to charities during COVID-19 crisis

PM, Scheer among MPs to donate pay hike to charities during COVID-19 crisis

Feds likely didn’t have enough protective gear in emergency stockpile: Hajdu

Feds likely didn’t have enough protective gear in emergency stockpile: Hajdu

Supply-line disruptions could cause Canadian drug shortage

Supply-line disruptions could cause Canadian drug shortage

Duration of COVID-19 measures depends on obeying health authorities: PM

Duration of COVID-19 measures depends on obeying health authorities: PM

Parliament to sit again to approve more COVID-19 relief as spending climbs

Parliament to sit again to approve more COVID-19 relief as spending climbs

Most Read