Soccer

Women's national soccer team players sue for equitable pay

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Women's national soccer team players sue for equitable pay

Players for the U.S. women's national soccer team have filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit seeking pay that is equitable to that of their male counterparts.

The action comes just three months before the team will defend its title at the Women's World Cup in France.

The players allege that they have been subject to ongoing "institutionalized gender discrimination," including unequal pay, despite having the same job responsibilities as players on the men's national team. The 28 members of the current national team player pool joined in the class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, which was filed Friday in federal court in Los Angeles under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The players are seeking equitable pay and treatment, in addition to damages including back pay.

"We believe it is our duty to be the role models that we've set out to be and fight to what we know we legally deserve," forward Christen Press told The Associated Press. "And hopefully in that way it inspires women everywhere."

The U.S. Women's National Team Players Association was not party to the lawsuit, but in a statement said it "supports the plaintiffs' goal of eliminating gender-based discrimination by USSF."

The U.S. Soccer Federation didn't have an immediate comment.

The USSF has maintained in the past that much of the pay disparity between the men's and women's teams results from separate collective bargaining agreements.??

The women's team set up its compensation structure, which included a guaranteed salary rather than a pay-for-play model like the men, in the last labor contract. The players also earn salaries -- paid by the federation -- for playing in the National Women's Soccer League.??

The women receive other benefits, including health care, that the men's national team players don't receive, the federation has maintained.

This is not the first time the players have sought equitable compensation and conditions.

A group of players filed a complaint in 2016 with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that alleged wage discrimination by the federation. The players maintained that players for the men's team earned far more than they did, in many cases despite comparable work.

The lawsuit effectively ends that EEOC complaint, brought by Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd and former goalkeeper Hope Solo. The players received a right to sue letter from the EEOC last month.

The team took the fight for equality into contract negotiations and struck a collective bargaining agreement in 2017 that runs through 2021.

The players received raises in base pay and bonuses as well as better provisions for travel and accommodations, including increased per diems. It also gave the players some control of certain licensing and marketing rights. Specific details about the deal were not disclosed.

"This lawsuit is an effort by the plaintiffs to address those serious issues through the exercise of their individual rights. For its part, the USWNTPA will continue to seek improvements in pay and working conditions through the labor-management and collective bargaining processes," the players' union said.

The lawsuit filed Friday seeks "an adjustment of the wage rates and benefits for Plaintiffs Morgan, Lloyd, Rapinoe and Sauerbrunn and the class to the level these Plaintiffs and the class would be enjoying but for the USSF's discriminatory practices."

"At the heart of this whole issue we believe that it's the right thing. We believe that there has been discrimination against us," midfielder Megan Rapinoe said. "And while we have fought very hard and for a long time, whether that be through our CBA or through our players association, putting ourselves in the best possible position that we can to get the best deal that we can, we still feel that we don't have what we're trying to achieve, which is equality in the workplace."

Washington Spirit and Australian national players try American treats for first time

Washington Spirit and Australian national players try American treats for first time

Washington Spirit and Australian national players Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison sat down with NBC Sports Washington to taste test a few American favorites and rate the treats. For the first time ever, Aussies Logarzo and Harrison each tried a Twinkie and took a sip of Coke.  

For Harrison, the initial comment after taking a bite was disgust, "Ew."  

However, Logarzo gave the twinkie a 10 out of 10, "if I was seven years old." 

Both players enjoyed the Coke and had tasted it before. 

The Washington Spirit are returning home to their stomping grounds to host Portland Thorns FC at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 17.

Both the Spirit and Thorns are coming off wins from last weekend, with the Spirit defeating Sky Blue FC 3-2 and the Thorns beating the Orlando Pride 3-1. This weekend is a chance for both teams to move up in the NWSL standings. The Spirit currently sits in 6th place (2-1-1), just one spot behind the Thorns in 5th place (2-0-2).

If the Spirit secure a win against the Thorns they could move up as high as second place in the NWSL table, their highest ranking since 2016.

Both the Spirit and the Thorns will be missing a few contributors to their rosters who are currently preparing with the U.S. Women’s National team for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Spirit forward Mallory Pugh and midfielder Rose Lavelle will be absent and Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, midfielders Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan, forward Christine Sinclair and defender Emily Sonnett will be absent as well.

This has been a big week for the Spirit. Both defender Cheyna Matthews and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe received accolades for their contributions in the league.

During the 22nd and 68th minutes of last weeks game against Sky Blue FC, Matthews scored to put Washington ahead. Matthews was nominated for the NWSL’s week five Goal of the Week.

In addition, Bledsoe was named the Westfield W-League’s goalkeeper of the year after helping Sydney FC claim the 2019 W-League title. Bledsoe is only the third American goalkeeper to receive this award.

Spirit vs. Thorns FC takes place at the Maryland SoccerPlex, on the team's first annual Armed Forces Night. The Spirit will show appreciation to veterans and active duty service members at halftime and provide discounted priced tickets to the game.

Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth Premier League Championship Sunday: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Associated Press Images

Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth Premier League Championship Sunday: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

After successfully avoiding relegation from the Premier League once again, Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth square off on Championship Sunday at Selhurst Park on  NBC Sports Washington. 

Both clubs are heading into the final day with some momentum, Crystal Palace winning two of their last three matches and Bournemouth coming off a 1-0 victory over Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday. 

While both clubs have secured safety, Crystal Palace will be looking to avenge a 2-1 loss in October, when a late Junior Stanislas penalty gave Bournemouth all three points. 

Want to watch Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth on NBC Sports Washington? Here are all the details:

Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth How to Watch

What: Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth, English Premier League Matchday 38

Where: Selhurst Park, London, UK

When: 10:00 a.m. ET Sunday, May 12

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington

Stream: NBCSports.com/Live or the NBC Sports app. 

Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth Preview

Record: Crystal Palace (13-7-17, 46 points), AFC Bournemouth (13-6-18, 45 points)

Last Game: 3-2 win at Cardiff City, 5/4 (Crystal Palace), 1-0 win vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 5/4 (AFC Bournemouth) 

Last Head-to-Head Matchup: AFC Bournemouth 2-1 win on 10/1/2018

Top Scorers: Luka Milivojevic, 12 goals (Crystal Palace), Callum Wilson, 14 goals (AFC Bournemouth)