Former U.S. women's national team goalkeeper Hope Solo has hit out at Megan Rapinoe, accusing the forward of leading the team to sign a "less-than-equal" collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with U.S. Soccer in 2017.
The USWNT is currently engaged in a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, accusing the federation of discriminating against the team due to their gender.
In May 2020, a federal judge ruled in U.S. Soccer's favor over the team's pay discrimination claim, basing part of his ruling on the fact that the USWNT agreed to the CBA that they later attempted to overturn.
What was said?
"Megan led the team into signing a less-than-equal collective bargaining agreement (CBA)," Solo told BeIN Sports.
"We were so close to achieving equal pay in 2016; it was offered to us, we were about to sign the contract with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
"But Megan Rapinoe and the leaders of that team signed a less-than-equal CBA, which is concerning for the overall class-action suit and the overall fight.
"But, trust me, we have history on our side, as well as congressmen and women.
"President Joe Biden is going to fight for equal pay - we believed in him four years ago and we believe in him now."
Was the CBA less than equal?
Yes, but it is unclear if the USWNT could have secured a better deal.
The 2017 CBA saw the USWNT earn plenty of concessions from U.S. Soccer but, partially based on the difference in how the team's CBA is structured compared to the USMNT, it is hard to define what "equal" exactly means.
Most USWNT players are salaried employees of U.S. Soccer, earning a guaranteed annual wage and benefits, while the USMNT are paid mostly in roster and performance-related bonuses.
What happened with the EEOC?
In March 2016, five USWNT players - including Rapinoe and Solo - filed a complaint with the EEOC, the U.S. government agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws.
The EEOC was still conducting an investigation when, in April 2017, the USWNT and U.S. Soccer agreed to a new CBA. By then, Solo was no longer with the USWNT.
In February 2019, the EEOC finished its investigation and the USWNT received right-to-sue letters from the agency. The following month, they filed their lawsuit against U.S. Soccer.
What is the status of the USWNT lawsuit?
In December, the USWNT and U.S. Soccer reached a settlement over one portion of the team's lawsuit, involving unequal working conditions.
As part of the settlement, U.S. Soccer agreed to revised policies over charter flights, venue selection, professional support, and hotel accommodations.
The settlement allowed the USWNT to move forward with their appeal over the federal judge's May 2020 ruling against the USWNT in the pay discrimination portion of the suit.