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U.S. Soccer president resigns after USWNT clap back at sexist court arguments

After U.S. Soccer argued that men have “more responsibility” than women, Megan Rapinoe called out a hastily arranged “apology” for exactly what it is. Then, the president quit.

Soccer: She Believes Cup Women’s Soccer-Japan vs United States
United States forward Sam Mewis (3) and goalkeeper Adrianna Franch (21) and forward Megan Rapinoe (15) stand on the field with their warmup shirts inside out before the game against Japan in the 2020 She Believes Cup soccer series at Toyota Stadium.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Our SB Nation partner Sounder at Heart reports USSF president Carlos Cordeiro resigned Thursday night, effective immediately. USSF Vice President Cindy Parlow Cone will take over as President.

“It has been an incredible privilege to serve as the President of U.S. Soccer,” Cordeiro tweeted. “My one and only mission has always been to do what is best for our Federation. After discussions with the Board of Directors, I have decided to step down, effective immediately.” The tweet also contained his full statement.

ORIGINAL REPORT: The USWNT has a lot on its plate at the moment. Not only are they preparing to take on all nations at the 2020 Olympics while filing a lawsuit seeking equal pay with the men’s team, it turns out that they also have to pull the U.S. Soccer Federation out of the 1950s. This, despite the fact that U.S. Soccer isn’t even paying them enough to afford a DeLorean.

COVID-19 — the Coronavirus — is first and foremost in everybody’s minds. But on top of that, the US Women are having to deal with another attack—this time from inside their own house.

Yesterday, the USSF’s court filings in the lawsuit leaked to the media and they sounded like what would happen if Andrew “Dice” Clay enrolled in law school. Among the lowlights, U.S. Soccer argued that the “job of a [men’s national team player] carries more responsibility within U.S. Soccer than the job of a [woman’s national team] player.”

As of press time, there was no word on whether the filing specified what happened after Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet.

2020 SheBelieves Cup - United States v Japan
Megan Rapinoe: saying it all without saying a word.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Understandably, when this leaked to the public, the Federation had to go into damage control mode. U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro tried to make the bad press go away, apologizing for “the offense and pain caused by language in this week’s court filing, which did not reflect the values of our Federation or our tremendous admiration of our Women’s National Team.”

According to NPR’s Brakkton Booker, Cordeiro further elaborated that U.S. Soccer “would defend the lawsuit ‘with the utmost respect not only for our Women’s National Team players but for all female athletes around the world. As we do, we will continue to work to resolve this suit in the best interest of everyone involved.’”

So the USSF is going to demonstrate “the utmost respect” for “all female athletes around the world” but... it still isn’t going to pay them equally? The effectiveness of Cordeiro’s apology appears to rely on his listeners possessing a three second short term memory. If U.S. Soccer starts issuing press passes to goldfish, we’ll know something’s amiss.

Not surprisingly, the USWNT wasn’t having any of it. While playing in Wednesday’s SheBelieves Cup Final, the team made their response by taking the field with their jerseys inside out so as to hide the U.S. Soccer emblem while standing for the national anthem.

And after the USWNT took home the SheBelieves Cup with a 3-1 victory over Japan, Megan Rapinoe had something to say about Cordeiro’s apology:

“We don’t buy it... That wasn’t for us. That was for fans, media, sponsors... Every negotiation we’ve had, those undertones are in there that we’re lesser. Every mediation session that we had, any time we met with them, and obviously the reason we filed this lawsuit. So for him to put that out saying sorry, presuming it’s for us, we don’t buy it. That wasn’t for us at all, that was for everybody else.”

That about nails it. The only thing U.S. Soccer is really sorry about is that the public found out about the incredibly misogynist arguments they were making in order to defend their incredibly misogynist policy. Cordeiro’s statement was one of those mealy mouthed “Sorry to anyone who was offended” PR mad libs that try to work in as many apology-like talking points as possible to cover up the fact that he’s entirely devoid of any actual contrition.

Rapinoe saw it for what it was and called him out on it. So did Ali Krieger:

In the meantime, the USWNT continued to prepare for the Tokyo Games (hopefully) and the trial for their case against U.S. Soccer in early May.

All the USWNT does is win. And if that turns out to be the case with this lawsuit, maybe they’ll finally be paid like it.