U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe had some simple advice for fans who are loudly advocating for the women’s national team to be paid as much as the men’s team: spend some money on the sport.
Rapinoe, during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, said fans need to advocate with their dollars if they want equal pay for the women’s players.
“Fans can come to games,” Rapinoe replied when Maddow asked what fans can do to support the equal pay fight. “Obviously national team games would be a hot ticket. But we have nine teams in the NWSL. You can go to your league games. You can support that way. You can buy players’ jerseys, you can lend your support in that way. You can tell your friends about it, you can become season ticket holders. I think in terms of that, that’s the easiest way for fans to get involved.”
Rapinoe’s answer could be seen as an acknowledgment that lower pay for women’s soccer players is not simply caused by a desire by the powers-that-be for women to make less money; rather, the amount players get paid is based on the amount of revenue generated by the sport.
The very act of comparing revenues and pay structures between the men’s and women’s teams is quite complicated. The two teams have different collective bargaining agreements, play different numbers of games, and the men’s team team only earns bonuses while the women’s team has a base salary-plus-bonus structure.
Variables aside, Rapinoe believes the debate is clear-cut.
“If you’re not down with equal pay at this point…you’re so far out of reality and the conversation that we can’t even go there,” Rapinoe told Maddow.