U.S. women's national team stars Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe appeared on Good Morning America on Monday and expressed their shock and dismay after a federal judge dismissed the players' arguments that they were systematically underpaid by U.S. Soccer in comparison to the men's national team.
Last Friday, Judge R. Gary Klausner of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ruled the USWNT players "have not demonstrated a triable issue that WNT players are paid less than MNT players." U.S. Soccer contested that women's players were paid more in total and on a per-game basis than the men's players from 2015 to 2019.
Rapinoe said the judge's ruling was "very disappointing" and "missed the point." Morgan reiterated that they would appeal the decision. Both players were class representatives in the suit.
"This decision was out of left field for us," Morgan said. "I think for both sides it was very unexpected so we will definitely be appealing and moving forward. If anyone knows anything about part this team–we are fighters and we'll continue to fight together for this."
Becky Sauerbrunn, another of the class representatives, echoed those sentiments, saying on Twitter, "If you know this team at all you know we have a lot of fight left in us. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy, change never is."
A trial about the remaining aspects of the gender discrimination lawsuit–unequal treatment regarding travel, hotel accommodations and team staffing–will take place on June 16, but the core element of the suit has been settled by Judge Klausner's granting of summary judgment.
The union representing the U.S. men's players weighed in with a statement of support for the women on Monday, stating: "The USMNT players continue to stand with the WNT players in their efforts to secure equal pay. For a year and a half the USMNT players have made proposals to the Federation that would achieve equal pay for the USMNT and USWNT players. We understand the WNT players plan to appeal last week’s decision and we support them."
The case has drawn attention from other corners as well, with Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president and former United States vice president, sharing his support for the USWNT players.
He called on U.S. Soccer to give them equal pay, threatening to withhold funding for the 2026 World Cup being hosted by the USA, Mexico and Canada, if elected to office in November.