Women’s Advocacy Group Calls on Nike to Give Equal Pay Bonuses for World Cup Athletes

Following Adidas’ decision to hand out equal pay bonuses to its sponsored soccer players on the United States Women’s National Team, sportswear giant Nike is being urged to do the same.

Women’s advocacy organization UltraViolet has called on the Beaverton, Ore.-based company to follow in its German rival’s footsteps. The latter’s announcement on International Women’s Day made headlines with the motto “Equal pay for equal play.”

The new measure — which goes into effect when the squad defends its championship title at the 2019 World Cup in June — will allow all of the team’s Adidas athletes, including midfielders Morgan Brian and Lindsey Horan, to score the same performance bonuses as their male counterparts.

“Adidas made the right call by promising to pay the World Cup-winning players it sponsors equal bonuses to their peers on the men’s team, and its show of solidarity with the women’s team will not go unnoticed,” said Shaunna Thomas, executive director of UltraViolet. “Nike should pledge to pay the USWNT players it sponsors performance bonuses that are commensurate to those of the men’s team.”

Among the Nike-sponsored players on the women’s contingent are Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath.

Adidas’ announcement coincided with news that all 28 team members filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming that they are not only required to play more games than the men’s team but also to win more often and consistently receive lesser pay. (The USWNT boasts three World Cup championships and four Olympic gold medals, compared with the men’s team, which has never won either tournament and failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.)

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