The US Soccer Federation apologized Wednesday after contending in court documents that women on its national team had lesser responsibilities and physical abilities than male counterparts, an assertion that drew widespread criticism and sparked a player protest, per the AP. "On behalf of US Soccer, I sincerely apologize 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," the statement from USSF President Carlos Cordeiro said. "Our WNT players are incredibly talented and work tirelessly, as they have demonstrated time and again, from their Olympic gold medals to their World Cup titles." Players filed a $66 million gender discrimination lawsuit in federal court last year, claiming they're paid less than their male counterparts.
The USSF says disparities in pay between men and women are the result of separate collective-bargaining agreements. In court documents filed Monday in response to the players' motion for a summary judgment, USSF lawyers wrote that the women claimed their ability level is the same as the men "by ignoring the materially higher level of speed and strength required to perform the job of an MNT player," and that "the job of MNT player requires materially different skill and more responsibility than plaintiffs' job does, while also taking place under materially different working conditions." The reaction of a rep for the players who filed the suit: "This 'argument' belongs in the Paleolithic Era. It sounds as if it has been made by a caveman. Literally everyone in the world understands that an argument that male players 'have more responsibility' is just plain simple sexism."
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