Thursday, March 31, 2016


In soccer, the US Women's National Team is suing because they aren't getting given as much money as the men.  In most times and places, this would lead to the standard arguments that they don't attract as many fans, no one's interested, stop whining, etc.  See, for example, the controversy in tennis, where the interest in men's matches remains higher in person and on TV no matter how much ESPN tries to pretend otherwise.

Yet in soccer the opposite is true.  The women's matches are generally more popular.  Not hugely, but enough that the complaint that they deserve to be paid better is darn legitimate.  Therein lies the conflict.  If you pay the women better on the strict free market consideration that people will pay more to watch them, you open the door to paying women in other sports less on the same basis.

My only conclusion is that life is never fair, we just try to eliminate terrible abuses as much as possible.  For everything else, we should all suck it up.  I was a great touch football player in that 5th-10th grade range that we played. So what?  No one pays to see that, chicks don't watch it or admire it, and no one has leagues or keeps statistics. Love of the game, desire for mastery, whatever.  I had terrible things happen in my upbringing but still feel I was enormously privileged.  Other poor bastards had far greater obstacles. No complaints.

My general rule is that greater outside forces should only be intervening when the disparities are large.

I know, I know.  Define "large."


Thos. said...

Sure, when you compare interest in men's & women's national team matches, the gripe over pay disparity seems legit.

But that doesn't take into account that there are thriving men's professional leagues (where players are superstars and compensated accordingly) but women's professional leagues have fizzled more than once.

US Soccer is paying the men more because they are bidding against popular (and wealthy) pro franchises for these players' time. Nobody is bidding against them for the women's time.

That's not going to stop this from being a media circus that takes a chunk out of US Soccer's reputation, though.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I hadn't thought of that angle.

Texan99 said...

I'd say define "deserve." If people really want to spend money watching women's soccer, and women soccer players really want to maximize their income, they'll start bargaining for higher pay. If not, if they don't like the rough-and-tumble of bargaining, or it's more important to them to play than to strike it rich, then they won't. I can live with it either way. For me, just deserts have little to do with it; it's just supply and demand and priorities of the people actually involved, which is to say the employers and the employees.