- The USWNT players protested the US Soccer federation by wearing their warm-up jerseys inside-out to hide the US Soccer crest prior to their SheBelieves Cup game against Japan Wednesday night.
- The move came in light of US Soccer's recent filings in the widely-publicized equal pay lawsuit that justified lesser pay for the women's team on the basis that "men are bigger, stronger, faster."
- Fans can now purchase apparel that looks like the inside-out jerseys directly from the US Women's National Team Players Association.
- The "4 Stars Only" shirts are available online for $28, while hoodies sell for $52 each.
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The USWNT made a big statement with its silent protest Wednesday night, and now the players association is inviting fans to get in on the action.
In light of the USWNT's ongoing feud with US Soccer and the federation's recent, widely-criticized filings in the equal pay lawsuit, the reigning World Cup champions wore their warm-up jerseys inside-out to hide the US Soccer crest prior to their SheBelieves Cup game.
As a result of the move, all that was visible were the four stars for their World Cup wins, a backward Nike swoosh, and an empty outline of the team crest.
Now the USWNT's player association is selling T-shirts and sweatshirts that look just like the inside-out jerseys so fans can stand in solidarity with the national team players.
As part of its USWNTPA Collection, BreakingT is offering "4 Stars Only" apparel featuring the white outline of the US Soccer crest and the team's four stars — which represent its four World Cup victories — on a navy-blue background. The T-shirts are priced at $28, while the hoodies sell for $52.
As Insider's Cork Gaines reported, the inside-out jersey protest was more than just a symbolic gesture. Volkswagon — a sponsor of US Soccer — advertises on the front of the warm-ups, so the USWNT's choice of attire could have serious financial repercussions for the federation.
Perhaps that reality is what prompted US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro's Wednesday-night statement in which he apologized for "the offense and pain" caused by filings in the ongoing lawsuit between the team and the federation. The federation's defense that unequal pay for women is fair because "men are bigger, stronger, faster" came under scrutiny by media, fans, and US Soccer sponsors in recent days.
The public backlash from the federation's filings, combined with the negative attention garnered from the team's pre-match protest Wednesday night, likely prompted Cordeiro's seemingly contradictory comments.
On Saturday night — on the eve of International Women's Day and the USWNT's matchup against Spain — Cordeiro released a statement doubling down on his federation's stance by claiming that it had offered "identical compensation to our women's and men's players for all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer." A representative for the USWNT immediately said the letter was "riddled with falsehoods," according to a statement shared by The Athletic's Meg Linehan. Needless to say, the players were not happy.
While US Soccer has repeatedly argued for the courts to drop the USWNT's lawsuit altogether, Rapinoe and the rest of the players on the women's team have requested a summary judgment that would award them $67 million in damages. If the two sides do not reach a settlement, they'll take the ongoing battle to trial beginning May 5 — mere months before the Tokyo Olympics are set to begin.
It's looking more and more likely the conflict will reach a courtroom, and USWNT players association president Becky Sauerbrunn is fairly adamant it will be.
"I think it goes in waves," she told members of the media on Sunday. "Sometimes we thought we were closer, sometimes further, and sometimes when things that happen like [Sunday] night, you're like 'oh, we're a little bit further.'"
"For us, anything less than equal we couldn't settle for," Sauerbrunn added.
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