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U.S. Soccer Defends Pay Gap by Saying Male Players Have a “Higher Lever of Skill”

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  • In recently released court documents, the U.S Soccer Federation argued that male athletes for the national soccer team have a “higher level of skill” than their female counterparts.
  • The filing is a result of the women’s team suing U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination, asking for equal pay and $67 million in back pay.
  • U.S. Soccer also justified the pay difference by citing biological sex differences, arguing that male players carry “more responsibility” and suggesting men face working conditions that include “unmatched” hostility from opposing fans.
  • The women’s team, which has consistently been ranked either number 1 or 2 by the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, said the job of an elite soccer player is the same.

U.S. Soccer Says Men Have a “Higher Level of Skill”

In court documents filed on Monday, the U.S. Soccer Federation says male soccer athletes are paid more because playing as a man “requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength” in comparison to a Women’s National Soccer player.

The document comes amid a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer. All 28 players on the Women’s National Team are accusing it of violating the Equal Pay Act. Specifically, they’re asking for equal pay with the men’s team and $67 million in back pay.

The two sides held talks in August to try to reach an agreement, but those talks quickly fell through. Now, this new court filing may shed light as to why. 

In the document, U.S. Soccer goes on to call differences in speed and strength between men and women “indisputable ‘science.’” It also cites a law publication that describes the scientific basis for “the average 10-12% performance gap between elite male and elite female athletes.”

“No matter how great the great Katie Ledecky gets… she will never beat Michael Phelps or his endurance counterparts in the pool,” U.S. Soccer lawyers also cite from Law and Contemporary Problems publication from Doriane Coleman. 

U.S. Soccer also argues that it did not violate the Equal Pay Act because the jobs that their male soccer players and female soccer players perform are substantially different, even though both are soccer players.

U.S. Soccer said in the documents, “facts demonstrate that the job of a [men’s national team] player carries more responsibility within U.S. Soccer than the job of a [women’s national team] player.”

It also justified that assertion by saying that the men’s team competes in multiple tournaments and can potentially bring in more than $40 million in prize money. By contrast, it said the women’s team only competes in one tournament that has the potential to bring in money—The FIFA Women’s World Cup, which only happens once every four years. As a result, it said the women’s team only generates one-tenth of the amount of money that the men’s team generates.

On top of that, U.S. soccer argued that men’s matches have higher ratings. That then means U.S Soccer can charge more for TV broadcast rights for those games.

It argues the job for the men’s team is different than the women’s because of “working conditions” and “‘surroundings’ of the job. Under that argument, it says the men’s team often travels to games in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, and in those games specifically, the men’s team faces “unmatched” hostility from opposing fans.

U.S. Women’s Team Says They Deserve Equal Pay

Still, the women’s team argues they should be paid the same because they hold the same position as that of their male counterparts: elite soccer player.

In other court documents, that insistence has come to head as lawyers for U.S. Soccer speak to players from the women’s team.

“Do you think it requires more skill to play for the US Men’s National Team than the US Women’s National Team?” a U.S. Soccer lawyer asked co-captain Alex Morgan.

“No,” Morgan told the lawyer. “It’s a different skill.”

“Do you think that the team could be competitive against the senior men’s national team?” a U.S. Soccer lawyer asked in a different exchange with co-captain Carli Lloyd.

“I’m not sure,” Lloyd said. “Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?”

In response to the court filing, on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the women’s team condemned U.S. Soccer’s reasoning as “ridiculous,” saying it “belongs in the Paleolithic Era.”

“It sounds as if it has been made by a caveman,” spokesperson Molly Levinson said. “Literally everyone in the world understands that an argument that male players ‘have more responsibility’ is just plain, simple sexism and illustrates the very gender discrimination that caused us to file this lawsuit to begin with.”

Since 2003, the women’s team has consistently been ranked either number 1 or 2 by the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. The women’s team also won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 and won again last year. 

By comparison, the men’s team ranks 22nd in the world right now. It also failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and has not placed in the top ten countries, except for once in 2002 when it placed eighth. 

At the women’s final in France last year,  after they won, the stadium erupted into chants of “Equal pay!” 

Regarding viewership, in 2015, their FIFA Women’s World Cup finals match became the most-watched soccer match in American TV history.

With those achievements, the team has argued its success has translated into substantial revenue generation and profits for U.S. Soccer.

On the note of working conditions, a major argument from the women’s team is that they have to play on turf much more often than the men’s team. According to their lawsuit, playing on turf can lead to serious and even career-threatening injuries.

“The job skills and effort and responsibilities are the same,” lawyers for the women’s team said on Monday. “It is all equal work requiring equal pay under the [Equal Pay Act]. Arguing that the WNT did not win its two World Cups ‘against the most elite male soccer players in the world’ is not a defense under the EPA; it is a tone deaf admission of blatant gender-based discrimination.”

A jury will decide the outcome of this lawsuit at a trial scheduled to begin later this year in May.

See what others are saying: (CBS Sports) (ESPN) (The Wall Street Journal)

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Ohio Will Give 5 People $1 Million for Getting Vaccinated

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  • Ohio is launching a lottery program that will give five people ages 18 or older $1 million each if they receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Five vaccinated people between 12 and 17 years old will win full four-year scholarships to one of the state’s public universities under a similar giveaway program. 
  • Some have criticized the move as a waste and misuse of federal coronavirus relief funds, but others applauded it as a strong effort to boost slumping vaccination rates.
  • Gov. Mike DeWine (R) addressed critics on Twitter, writing, “The real waste at this point in the pandemic — when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it — is a life lost to COVID-19.”

Ohio Announces Vaccine Lottery

Several states and cities across the country have been rolling out different incentives to help boost COVID-19 vaccination rates. Some are offering $100 savings bonds, $50 prepaid cards, and even free alcohol, but Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine took it a step further Wednesday, saying that five people in his state will each win $1 million for getting vaccinated.

DeWine said that the lottery program, named “Ohio Vax-a-Million,” will be open to residents 18 and older who receive at least one dose. Drawings start May 26 and winners will be pulled from the state’s voter registration database.

The Ohio Lottery will conduct the drawings, but the money will come from existing federal coronavirus relief funds.

Younger people will also have a chance to win something. That’s because DeWine said five vaccinated people between 12 and 17 years old will be eligible to win a full four-year scholarship to one of the state’s public universities under a similar lottery program. The portal to sign up for that opens May 18.

DeWine Defends Lottery

Reactions to the giveaway have been mixed. Some echoed statements from State Rep. Emilia Sykes, the top House Democrat, who said, “Using millions of dollars in relief funds in a drawing is a grave misuse of money that could be going to respond to this ongoing crisis.”

DeWine, however, seems to have anticipated pushback like this.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,'” he tweeted. “But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic — when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it — is a life lost to COVID-19.”

Despite some backlash, a ton of other people have applauded the plan as a smart way to encourage vaccinations across all age groups. So far, about 36%of Ohio’s population has been fully vaccinated — compared with 35% nationally. 

Still, the number of people seeking vaccines has dropped in recent weeks, with an average of about 16,500 starting the process last week, which is down from figures above 80,000 in April. 

See what others are saying: (AP News) (NPR)(The New York Times)

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Derek Chauvin Qualifies for Longer Sentence Over George Floyd’s Murder, Judge Rules

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  • A judge overseeing the trial of Derek Chauvin ruled Wednesday that there were enough aggravating factors in the former officer’s murder of George Floyd that could qualify him for a longer prison sentence.
  • While Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges he faced, Minnesota state law only allows him to receive prison time for the most serious charge of second-degree homicide, which has a max sentence of 40 years but a recommended sentence of 12.5 years for people with no criminal history.
  • The judge ultimately agreed that Chauvin qualifies for longer sentencing because prosecutors had proven that he abused his power as a police officer, acted “particularly cruel” to Floyd, and committed the crime in front of children with at least three other people.
  • Chauvin is currently scheduled to be sentenced on June 25.

Judge Cahill Rules on Aggravating Factors

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, who oversaw the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, has ruled that there were aggravating factors in the former Minneapolis police officer’s murder of George Floyd, thus qualifying him for a longer sentence.

While the jury found Chauvin guilty on all three charges he was facing, Minnesota law says that he will only face sentencing for the most serious charge, which in this case is second-degree murder.

That charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, but state sentencing guidelines recommend 12 and a half years for someone with no criminal history. Prosecutors asked Judge Cahill for what’s called an “upward sentencing departure,” arguing that there were five factors that should open Chauvin up to a maximum sentence.

In a ruling made public Wednesday, Cahill wrote that prosecutors had proved beyond a reasonable doubt four of those five factors.

In his decision, Cahill agreed with the prosecutor’s claim that Chauvin had “abused his position of trust and authority” as a police officer and that he “knew from his training and experience” that the neck restraint he used Floyd in “danger of positional asphyxia.” 

Cahill also supported the argument that the former officer had been “particularly cruel” to Floyd, who he wrote “was begging for his life and obviously terrified by the knowledge he was likely to die,” adding that Chauvin “remained indifferent to Mr. Floyd’s pleas.”

The third and fourth aggravating factors that the judge sided with prosecutors on were that Chauvin had committed the crime as part of a group of three or more people and that he perpetrated that crime in front of children.

Notably, Cahill did reject the fifth aggravating factor brought by prosecutors, who argued Floyd was “particularly vulnerable” because he was handcuffed and held facedown on the street. The judge said that prosecutors did not prove that argument, writing that Floyd had been able to resist arrest before he was put on the ground.

Additional Charges

The ruling comes just a few days after Chauvin and the three other officers were indicted on federal civil rights charges by a grand jury.

Chauvin was also indicted on a second, separate federal charge related to the arrest of a 14-year-old boy in September 2017, during which he allegedly held the boy by the neck and hit him with a flashlight repeatedly.

According to reports, if he is convicted, he would likely serve the federal sentence at the same time as his state one. However, the federal charges may impact the pending August trial of the three other officers, who have been charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

Separately, last week, Chauvin’s defense attorney filed a motion for a new trial, alleging misconduct by the judge, prosecutors, and jurors, signaling additional continued litigation.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (NPR) (CNN)

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Teens Attack and Rob 80-Year-Old Asian Man in Northern California

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  • Viral surveillance footage shows an 80-year-old Asian man in the San Francisco Bay area being assaulted and robbed on Saturday by suspects who police say are teenagers.
  • Police believe the suspects are as young as 16, and at one point, one can be heard in the video giggling from the getaway car as the victim cries for help. 
  • The news comes after the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate released data showing that reports of anti-Asian hate incidents in the U.S. jumped by almost 74% year-over-year in March.

Suspect Laughs at Victim During Attack

Surveillance video going viral on social media captured an 80-year-old Asian man in the San Francisco Bay area getting assaulted and robbed on Saturday by suspects who police believe are teenagers.

The full video is extremely distressing. It shows the man getting knocked to the ground, trying to fight off his attackers as he cries for help. To make matters worse, at one point, high-pitched giggles can be heard coming from another teen in the background. That person appears to be inside a getaway car nearby.

The victim was robbed of a watch and sustained minor injuries. Police have also said that a vehicle similar to the one used in this case was spotted at a strong-armed robbery in a nearby San Leandro area less than two hours later, where another victim was robbed of her purse.

Police believe the suspects are as young as 16.

Surge of Crimes Against Asians in U.S.

This is just the latest violent attack against an Asian person making headlines since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, reports emerged regarding two Asian women who were attacked with a hammer in Times Square by someone demanding they remove their masks. Two other Asian women were recently stabbed while waiting for the bus in downtown San Francisco.

The San Francisco-based nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate released data Thursday saying that reports of anti-Asian hate incidents in the U.S. jumped by almost 74% year-over-year in March — with Chinese people as victims in 44% of these acts.

Vancouver Sees Massive Influx of Anti-Asian Hate

While anti-Asian hate crimes have surged in the U.S., the situation may be worse in Canada, specifically in Vancouver. Around 42% of people in Vancouver are of Asian descent and at least 25% speak Chinese — making it the most heavily Asian city in North America.

Still, it witnessed a 717% year-over-year surge in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020, according to the Vancouver Police Department. Bloomberg even dubbed it the Anti-Asian hate crime capital of North America, saying more anti-Asian hate crimes were reported in the city of 700,000 people last year than in the 10 largest U.S. cities combined.

That’s part of why people all across the city are participating in more organized action to speak out against anti-Asian hate. For instance, several rallies took place in Vancouver Monday to mark the National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism.

See what others are saying: (ABC 7) (Bloomberg) (Forbes)

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