‘Blatant Misogyny’: U.S. Women Protest, and U.S. Soccer Apologizes

“What somebody there didn’t realize — and if it is Carlos Cordeiro we have larger issues — is the damage this is going to cause,” Foudy said. “And not just to the players but to sponsors, to the public sentiment, to fans, to everybody involved in the game, when you are basically saying, ‘You’re not as good, and now we have affirmed it to you, and you’re not as deserving.’”

While the filing may have been stark in its tone, it wasn’t appreciably different from the legal strategy U.S. Soccer has pursued for the past year. “That all sounded pretty similar to what we’ve heard before,” Rapinoe said after the game. “You want to talk about hostility? Every negotiation that we have, those undertones are in there, that we are lesser.”

She added that she believed the apology wasn’t directed toward the players, but instead toward fans, the news media and sponsors. “For him to put that out, saying sorry, presumably to us — we don’t buy it,” she said.

After two days of being pilloried by players, sponsors and fans, U.S. Soccer seemed to realize that what its lawyers believe are winning legal arguments won’t necessarily be received well in a high-profile case where every legal filing is immediately dissected publicly.

Cordeiro said he had hired a new law firm to join the federation’s side in the gender discrimination case “and guide our legal strategy going forward.”

“I have made it clear to our legal team that even as we debate facts and figures in the course of this case, we must do so with the utmost respect not only for our women’s national team players but for all female athletes around the world,” he said.

Assuming that the judge in the case does not grant either side’s motions for summary judgment — a ruling that essentially says one side has proved its argument without need for a trial — and that a settlement is not forthcoming, the case is scheduled to go to trial May 5.

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