The star athletes on the U.S. women’s national soccer team ditched their cleats and hit the Microsoft Theatre in California on Wednesday.
Just hours after their ticker tape parade in New York City, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle and the other superstar women on the team followed up their World Cup victory with an appearance at the 2019 ESPY Awards, accepting the trophy for best team from actress Sandra Bullock.
Said Bullock as she read the winners’ card, “All those in favor of equal pay say aye!”
“We literally just got off a plane a couple of hours ago,” said Carli Lloyd onstage. She continued, “Thank you to ESPN, all of our followers, supporters around the world … super proud of all of these 22 fabulous ladies.”
Rapinoe followed up her epic speech at City Hall in N.Y.C. earlier in the day with brief remarks, joking to the gathered crowd of celebrities and athletes, “I’ve dropped the f-bomb on every stage I’ve been in on the last few days, so I’ll just spare you that.”
From a parade in NYC to the ESPYS in LA, it's been a whirlwind day for the USWNT 👏 pic.twitter.com/z3voFFnZ7o— ESPN (@espn) July 11, 2019
The U.S. Women’s National Team secured their latest World Cup victory with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands Sunday. The win marks America’s fourth in the tournament.
Btw, our squad lookin’ 🔥 tonight. pic.twitter.com/x0WPPKew6K— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 11, 2019
In the wake of the victory, there has been increased attention on the players’ battle for equal pay.
Twenty-eight players on the USWNT team filed a class action lawsuit in March against their employer, accusing the USSF of workplace discrimination because of their gender, according to the New York Times.
The Washington Post reports that the women claimed they were paid less than the men’s national team, and also received less support from the USSF despite the fact that they played consistently well.
The suit also argued that “during the period relevant to this case, the WNT earned more in profit and/or revenue than the MNT.”
In a court filing in May, the USSF responded and denied the women’s claims, saying that pay is “based on differences in aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.”
According to the Post, women’s games pulled in about $900,000 more in revenue than men’s games from 2016-18, and $1.9 million in the year after the women won the World Cup in 2015.
Appearing on Good Morning America, Tuesday, Rapinoe opened up further about the fight for equality.
“I think the conversation needs to move from, you know, are we worth it, or should we have equal pay, to what can we do now?” she said. “How can FIFA support the federations, how can federations support their players better, how can the leagues support their players better?”
The star athlete also offered some advice for fans looking to do their part, as she encouraged viewers to watch games of both the national team and their local club teams.
“I think there’s a part in this for everybody to do, and I think we’ve really left the old conversation behind us and now it’s time for that action,” she said.