Tim Benz: USWNT won the World Cup and lost a dumb argument
The United States Women’s National Team won the World Cup.
And it lost one stupid argument.
The first thing is more important. The second thing is their own fault.
Prior to her team’s 2-0 victory over the Netherlands to win the World Cup, American star Megan Rapinoe complained that her team’s game had to occur on the same day as the American men were playing Mexico in the Gold Cup final.
It was also on the same day that Brazil was playing Peru in the Copa America final.
‘I don’t think that we feel the same level of respect, certainly that FIFA has for the men’: U.S. co-captain Megan Rapinoe slams soccer’s governing body for scheduling two other final matches on the same day as the women’s World Cup final https://t.co/BeWhSXh0Mq pic.twitter.com/RZJzTCoEJE
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 7, 2019
If you sift through a lot of what Rapinoe said there, her gripe was a lot less about what was wise to do from a broadcast standpoint and a lot more to do with her definition of “respect” and her attempt to draw a connection to the pay gap between the women’s game and the men’s game.
The notion that this women’s team was being scrutinized for being too brash was a strawman. And so is this argument.
The only reason I knew the other soccer games were on the same day as the Women’s World Cup is because Rapinoe vented in the first place. Hence — for an average non-soccer fan like me — why was having all three soccer games on the same day a bad thing, exactly?
After all, the point of Rapinoe’s rant (allegedly) was to “grow the game.” And I, for one, am more of a soccer fan today than I was yesterday.
I watched on TV. I listened on the radio. I followed the scores. I read all three game stories on the matches. I stayed plugged in.
And I’m someone who may not care about soccer at all for the next 364 days. But in this case, for one day, soccer is what I watched more than anything, and I bet that was the case in many cities in the U.S.
Perhaps by a happy accident of ill-planning—as Rapinoe points out—soccer was given its own day in America when nothing else was going on except a few get-away baseball games before the All-Star break.
Also, perhaps by a happy accident, the start times for the games lined up in succession so that fans could watch all three in a row if they wanted.
It was only because of Rapinoe’s complaints — ironically — that I knew the other games were falling on the same day. I’m not a soccer fan at all. And I thought it was great.
It was like soccer in America had a day akin to the Thursday that kicks off the NCAA basketball tournament, the first day of Major League Baseball playoff games or the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
And the women’s sport was in the spotlight as the biggest event of the day. At least in the U.S.
So, what’s the problem, Megan?
The answer is: There wasn’t one.
This is a classic example of the women’s team saying it wants “equal treatment,” when in reality it wants “special treatment.”
Soccer had a great day in America on Sunday. It held court. It was the biggest sport in the country.
And Rapinoe was the biggest star on the stage.
I’m sorry if that wasn’t enough for her.