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U.S. Soccer President Apologizes for “Sexist” Comments in Court Filing Following On-Field Protest

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  • The President of the U.S. Soccer Federation, Carlos Cordeiro, apologized for a recently released court filing that contained “sexist” rhetoric bout the Women’s National Team.
  • The documents said that male players have a “higher level of skill” and “more responsibility” than their female counterparts.
  • In March, the women’s team sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination, demanding equal pay to the men’s team.
  • While Cordeiro said that U.S. Soccer would still be fighting the case, they will “do so with the utmost respect not only for our Women’s National Team players but for all female athletes around the world.”

Apology From Carlos Cordeiro

The president of the United States Soccer Federation apologized Wednesday for “sexist” comments made in a legal filing against the Women’s National Team. 

“On behalf of U.S. 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 the Women’s National Team,” U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro said in a statement, just after the women’s team won the title game of the SheBelieves Cup. 

“I have made it clear to our legal team that even as we debate facts and figures in the course of this case, we must do so with the utmost respect not only for our Women’s National Team players but for all female athletes around the world,” he added. “As we do, we will continue to work to resolve this suit in the best interest of everyone involved.”

Lawsuit Against U.S. Soccer

In March, the women’s team filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer alleging gender discrimination and violations of the Equal Pay Act. A court filing from U.S. Soccer released on Monday said that, for a variety of reasons, the Women’s National Team does not deserve equal pay to the Men’s National Team. The women have long argued that their back-to-back World Cup wins, consistently higher FIFA rankings than the men’s team, and other factors make them worthy of the money.

In their filing, however, U.S. Soccer said that playing on the men’s team “requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength.” It claimed that biological differences between men and women make men innately stronger and faster. 

“No matter how great the great Katie Ledecky gets…she will never beat Michael Phelps or his endurance counterparts in the pool,” the filing stated, citing a study on the subject. 

The filing also claimed that a men’s player “carries more responsibility” in their role, as they play more tournaments with big cash prizes, and generate more views on television games. It also claimed that the men frequently play abroad facing “unmatched” hostility from opposing fans.

This rhetoric has not been received well by the players of the women’s team. Co-captain Alex Morgan has previously said that women’s soccer does not require less skill, but “a different skill.” When co-captain Carli Lloyd was challenged about the women’s ability to be competitive against the men, she said, “I’m not sure. Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?”

Outrage From Public and Sponsors

The comments made by U.S. Soccer led to public outrage, including from some of their sponsors. A representative from the accounting firm Deloitte told a BuzzFeed News reporter that they were “deeply offended” by the views expressed in the lawsuit. 

The Vice President of Budweiser, Monica Rustgi issued a statement along those same lines. 

“The comments made by U.S. Soccer do not align with our values, nor our point of view on women’s soccer,” she said. “We champion and admire the athleticism of the women in this sport as we find them to be among the best athletes in the world.”

Frustration did not stop at sponsors for the organization. Sports Illustrated an article demanding that Cordeiro resign. The Women’s National Team took to the field in a silent protest on the matter as well. 

Women’s Team Protests

While playing in the Wednesday game of the SheBelieves Cup, the women turned their jerseys inside out, hiding the U.S. Soccer logo. Instead, all that could be seen were the four stars on their jerseys, each representing a World Cup win.

“To every girl out there, to every boy out there, who watches this team who wants to be on this team or just wants to live their dream out, you are not lesser because you are a girl,” said player Megan Rapinoe during the game. “You are not better just because you’re a boy. We are all created equal.”

After the game, Rapinoe also addressed Cordiero’s apology after the game. She said she did not find it sincere. 

“That wasn’t for us,” she told reporters. “That’s for fans, that’s for the media, that’s for sponsors, because that all sounded pretty similar to what we had heard before.” 

See what others are saying: (ESPN) (Sports Illustrated) (Washington Post)

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Derek Chauvin and 3 Others Ex-Officers Indicted on Civil Rights Charges Over George Floyd’s Death

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  • The Justice Department filed federal criminal charges Friday against Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers after a grand jury indicted them for violating the civil rights of George Floyd.
  • The indictment charges Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao for violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force. All three, as well as Thomas Lane, were also charged with failing to provide medical care to Floyd. 
  • Chauvin was additionally hit with two counts in a separate indictment, which claims he violated the civil rights of a 14-year-old boy who he allegedly held by the neck and repeatedly beat with a flashlight during a 2017 arrest.
  • Chauvin was already convicted last month of murder and manslaughter over Floyd’s death, which Kueng, Lane, and Thao were previously charged for allegedly aiding and abetting.

Former Minneapolis Officers Hit With Federal Charges

A federal grand jury indicted Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers for violating George Floyd’s civil rights during the arrest that lead to his death last summer, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Chauvin, specifically, was charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force by a police officer. Ex-officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were indicted for willfully failing to intervene in Chauvin’s unreasonable use of force.

All three men, as well as former officer Thomas Lane, face charges for failing to provide medical care to Floyd, “thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd,” according to the indictment.

In a second, separate indictment, Chauvin was hit with two counts of civil rights violations related to the arrest of a 14-year-old boy in September 2017. During that incident, Chauvin allegedly held the boy by the neck and hit him with a flashlight repeatedly.

The announcement, which follows a months-long investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, comes just over two weeks after Chauvin was found guilty of three state charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

He is currently awaiting his June 25 sentencing in a maximum-security prison.

State-Level Charges

Kueng, Lane, and Thao all face state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Kueng and Lane were the first officers to responded to a call from a convenience store employee who claimed that Floyd used a counterfeit $20 bill. Body camera footage showed Floyd sitting in the car and Lane drawing his gun as the officers ordered him out and handcuffed him. 

Floyd can be heard pleading with the officers not to shoot him.

Shortly after, Chauvin and Thao arrived, and the footage shows Chauvin joining the other officers in their attempt to put Floyd into the back of a police car. In the struggle, the officers forced Floyd to the ground, with Chauvin kneeling on his neck while Kueng and Lane held his back and legs. 

Meanwhile, in cellphone footage taken at the scene, Thao can be seen ordering bystanders to stay away, and later preventing a Minneapolis firefighter from giving Floyd medical aid.

Their trial is set to begin in late August, and all three are free on bond. The new federal charges, however, will likely be more difficult to prove.

According to legal experts, prosecutors will have to show beyond reasonable doubt that the officers knew that they were depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights but continued to do so anyway.

The high legal standard is also hard to establish, as officers can easily claim they acted out of fear or even poor judgment.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (The Associated Press)

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Caitlyn Jenner Says Her Friends Are Fleeing California Because of the Homeless Population

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  • California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner sparked outrage after an interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday that was filmed from her Malibu airplane hangar. 
  • “My friends are leaving California,” she said. “My hangar, the guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless.’”
  • Many criticized Jenner for sounding out of touch and unsympathetic to real issues in California and suggested that she prioritize helping the homeless population rather than incredibly wealthy state residents.

Caitlyn Jenner’s Remarks

California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner sparked outrage on Wednesday after suggesting that wealthy people are fleeing the state because of its homeless population.

Jenner sat down for an interview in her Malibu airplane hangar with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Jenner is one of the handful of Republicans aiming to unseat current Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election in the fall. While polls show that most Californians do not support recalling Newsom, the conservative-led movement to do so gained enough signatures to land on the ballot.

“My friends are leaving California,” Jenner claimed during the interview. “My hangar, the guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, ‘where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless.’” 

“I don’t want to leave,” she continued. “Either I stay and fight, or I get out of here.”

Jenner’s Remarks Prompt Backlash

Her remarks were criticized online by people who thought Jenner sounded unsympathetic and out of touch to the real issues in the state. Many found it hypocritical that Jenner has slammed Newsom for being elite but was so concerned for wealthy people who don’t like having to see unhoused residents on the street.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Ca.) called Jenner out on Twitter for seemingly fighting for a small percentage of Californians. 

Unlike you, Dems are focused on the 99% of people who don’t own planes or hangars,” he wrote. “And you know what’s going to help reduce homelessness? The #AmericanRescuePlan, which your party opposed.”

Others suggested she prioritize directly addressing the homeless situation.

“If you don’t like the homeless situation, instead of hiding in your PRIVATE PLANE HANGAR, your campaign should be about helping them,” actress Merrin Dungey said. “They don’t like their situation either. Your lifelong privilege is showing. It’s not a good color.”

Jenner, an Olympic gold medalist and reality star, is one of the most prominent transgender Americans. Because homelessness is such a common issue within the trans community, some were frustrated she was not using her campaign to fix the situation, and rather used it to complain about how it impacted her wealthy friends. 

See what others are saying: (The Hill) (Politico) (Washington Post)

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Derek Chauvin Seeks New Trial In George Floyd Murder Case

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  • A lawyer for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, filed a motion Tuesday for a new trial.
  • Among other complaints about Chauvin’s conviction, the attorney cited “prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law.”
  • He also claimed the court “abused its discretion” by not granting a change of venue or sequestering the jury for the duration of the trial, arguing that publicity before and during it threatened its fairness. 
  • John Stiles, deputy chief of staff for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, told CNN, “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”

Derek Chauvin’s Attorney Files Motion for New Trial

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is officially asking for a new trial, hoping to overturn his conviction for the murder of George Floyd.

His attorney, Eric Nelson, filed court paperwork Tuesday laying out a number of errors he believes were made during Chauvin’s legal proceedings that violated his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial. Nelson cited alleged issues, including, “prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law.”

The filing did not cite any specific examples of jury misconduct, but Nelson also argued that the court “abused its discretion” by not granting a change of venue or sequestering the jury for the duration of the trial.

The court proceedings took place in the same city where Floyd was killed and where protesters drew national attention by calling for justice in his name. As a result, Nelson claimed that publicity before and during the trial threatened its fairness. He also argued that a defense expert witness was intimidated after he testified, but before the jury deliberated.

His filing asks for a hearing to impeach the guilty verdict, in part, on the grounds that the 12 jurors “felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations.”

It’s unclear exactly what will come of this request, but John Stiles, deputy chief of staff for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, told CNN, “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”

For instance, a judge previously denied Chauvin’s request to move the trial in March, saying, “I don’t think there’s any place in the state of Minnesota that has not been subjected to extreme amounts of publicity on this case.”

See what others are saying: (CNN) (NPR) (CBS)

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