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Chivalry Isn’t Dead: US Soccer’s Unfair Labor Deal

In a landmark agreement, members of the US men’s national soccer team agreed to pool their World Cup prize money with the women’s team. Call it solidarity, call it charity, but please don’t call it equality.

Men should continue to earn more than women for participating in world championships, because men’s tournaments brings much more profit. The situation is typical not only for the World Cup, but also for the national football leagues. basketball and most other professional sports.

Men’s sports bring in more money because people are usually more interested in watching men compete. There are some sports, such as figure skating and gymnastics, where female athletes are of more interest. It is for this reason that many of highest paid professional figure skaters are women. But The NBA is about 50 times more popular than the WNBA.and the other major spectator sports in America—football, baseball, and hockey—have no women’s professional leagues.

Why are people more interested in watching men compete? I suspect it has something to do with the fact that male athletes tend to outperform women in most sports.

Years ago, when tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams played a low-ranking tennis player on the Australian Open practice court, this man beat them both smartly. When the US women’s soccer team played against teen boys team in 2017 women’s team lost. Why did they fight 14-year-old boys at all in preparation for the World Cup? Presumably, the Dallas boys’ team was considered a worthy counterpart to their international competition.

Biological differences in strength, speed and endurance are the reason why most sports are divided by gender. If women competed with men, women would not demand more money, they would demand an end to segregation. Previously, professional baseball was racially segregated; Black players were excluded from Major League Baseball (MLB) approximately 75 years ago., preventing them from getting their fair share of the revenue from America’s “entertainment”. It was a clear and grotesque example of inequality. In response, black athletes did not ask MLB players to share their profits with the Negro leagues; they demanded equal access to MLB. It was a fair solution to the problem of systemic discrimination.

I come from Finland, a country often considered one of the most gender equality in the world. In 2019 fin. The Ombudsman for Equality concluded that the Finnish National Football Association did not discriminate against women by paying much higher compensation to men. The decision was dictated by the observation that only the men’s team was profitable. Some of this profit was used to sponsor a women’s team, which proved unprofitable for the organization. Finnish society seems to be open to the theory that merit justifies unequal outcomes.

While US Soccer’s groundbreaking labor agreement has been hailed as a sign of progress, it sends a completely wrong message to the women and girls of America: if you can’t compete with men – if you can’t perform at the same level – you can always count on the nobility of men.

Whatever men earn playing for the national team this is only a fraction of what they earn as professional athletes in Major League Soccer and European leagues. At least for now, this source of their income is based on market forces, not public opinion. I suspect this is the main reason why the men agreed, albeit reluctantly, to sign this contract. They just want this thing to go away.

Jukka Savolainen is a Research Fellow at the Heterodox Academy and Professor of Sociology at Wayne State University, where he teaches the sociology of sports.

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