Sportsmasnhip

Gender pay gap in US soccer?

US Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand railed at the gender pay gap between the US Soccer men’s team and women’s team after the latter thrashed Thailand 13-0.

Democratic Senator and perennial identity politician Elizabeth Warren also chipped in with her slant on things about how it is high time to address the pay gap!

Former Republican Senator Orrin Hatch asked the U.S. Soccer Federation to “end this two-tiered, gender-based structure that has unfairly discriminated against female athletes.”

Before US senators took to bashing the US Soccer Federation (USSF), a quick look at the Annual Report for 2018 reveals that “expenses” on the national women’s team were higher than the men’s.

By the numbers, women’s expenditure grew 25% to $17.13m in 2018 over the previous year while the men’s slid 35% to $14.63m (down from $22.43m in 2017). While expenditures aren’t completely broken down, one can assume that this adjustment includes paying for performance.

When boiled down, the expenses allocated to the women’s national team came in at 24% of overall expenses in 2018 from 18% in 2017. Men fell from 30% of the total to 20% over the same time period.

Unless multiple men’s team players have been sacked and there are surplus female players the pay gap is probably swinging in favour of the fairer sex. Or could it be that the governing body is exercising good governance?

Whatever it is, even better to see the investment in the youth national team and player development which has risen from $23.2m to $27.4m.

If only female soccer star Megan Rapinoe could casts aside her Trump Derangement Syndrome and sing the national anthem because she’s representing her country.

Not surprising to see own goals kicked by politicians who don’t look at the facts.

Perhaps the US women’s soccer team should address the pay gap between themselves first. Then once that is complete go after the blokes.

World’s fastest policeman

Congrats to Danilo #Petrux Petrucci on his maiden MotoGP win at Mugello. Despite riding with the flu, he overcame and won in his normal pitbull style. A popular choice for the win. Nice to see the Bologna Bullets so competitive. Looks like Petrux has got the 1yr contract extension in the bag.

In rare support of Nike

Who could forget Nike’s political stunt in favour of the kneelers supporting BLM? Recall the millions it paid Colin Kaepernick to tell us about the bravery of those sacrificing everything if they believed in it. Social justice is a thang at Nike, at least among the marketing department. Naturally, it provoked a lot of anger from real Americans who served their country, some who paid for it with their lives. Taya Kyle, the war widow of legendary sniper Chris Kyle, wrote a stern letter to Nike which was on the mark.

Now some are taking Nike to task over the sponsorship contracts it holds with superstars, especially females. Nike does not appear to sacrifice everything, especially when it believes it.

Six-time track and field Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix penned an op-ed to The NY Times telling of the cold realities of re-contracting while considering having a child. Sadly the Nike contracting team is probably staffed with icy cold hard-nosed realists compared to the cuddly socially active marketing department.

33-yo Felix said Nike wanted to contract her 70% less after her pregnancy. She wanted the original value to stay in force even if she suffered slight underperformance in the months after childbirth. Her request is totally understandable. Surely Nike could have done some celebrity mother and child adverts to pluck at the heartstrings of the average person? Get all those mothers with newborns to sport a pair of Nike kicks and leotards as they push their strollers to yoga. Just the sort of mush that a marketing department craves.

High-end endorsements are extremely hard to get. The bigger the payout the higher the pressure and expectations thrust upon the star. Contracts are driven by athletic performance and the ability to drive sales off the back of it. These performance-based targets are likely to be written clearly in black and white. It sounds like Felix needed a much better sports agent to negotiate such clauses. Serena Williams had a child and her Nike endorsements rolled on unaffected. The tennis champ even narrated a “dream crazier” advert solely looking at women in sport.

Is Felix’s 70% haircut anything more than Nike’s endorsement team taking a view on her future performance when it comes to which brand ambassadors will keep driving sales? It must have made a judgement call that Felix was past her prime. If we looked at all the females sponsored by Nike, what rank is she within the long list of names? Usain Bolt hung up his golden boots at age 30.

It is unclear how many millions that Felix received from Nike every year. Sponsorship is slightly different from employment. There are lots of caveats in sports contracts which ensure that athletes behave responsibly “outside” the game to reflect the values of the organisation. One might feel some pity that the choice to have a child ruined her contract terms but Nike has not done anything illegal.

It is unlikely that any two Nike superstar endorsement contracts are the same. Michael Jordan ended up with his own brand within Nike. Undoubtedly he was paid better than an up and coming college NFL star. It is most likely that Serena Williams’ contract had many different term and conditions to Allyson Felix. If Felix signed her contract she took on all of the legalities within it, including the fine print. Unlike an employment contract, sponsorships terms can change on a whim.

The Nike sponsorship Rolodex is undoubtedly littered with stars – male and female – in their 30s, re-contracted at far lower rates than when they were in their prime. Felix wouldn’t be alone. Age, rather than maternity was probably the bigger driver for the Nike decision makers. The world of sports is brutal. Unless one is a Valentino Rossi of MotoGP fame, a Roger Federer/Serena Williams in tennis or an Usain Bolt in track & field, ongoing sponsorship tends to fade as these stars get put out to pasture.

Yet we are not Nike and we do not have the full facts of how it grants its limited marketing dollars. Perhaps we should ask why Adidas or Puma aren’t beating a path to Felix’s door to contract her and get some mileage out of the controversy? Nike knows the endorsement field probably better than most. The risk of her defection is minimal at best, therefore, Nike can drive hard bargains. Take it or leave it.

Vale Nikki Lauda – A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from his friends

A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from his friends”

An amazing F1 World Champion. To survive that horrible Nurburgring fire and return to be a champion again.

Ron Howard’s Rush was a great film which captured the meticulous nature of Lauda.

Folau’s religious beliefs not for sale

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How pathetic is Rugby Australia’s (RA) “peace offering” to buy off Israel Folau for $1mn? Good on Folau for rejecting it. It only proves his religious beliefs aren’t for sale.

It is becoming more and more typical of boards to yield to trolls on social media which ends up in knee-jerk decisions that often end up backfiring. This week The Australian conducted a poll of c.27,000 people which showed 89% support for keeping Folau in the Wallabies team.

If RA’s board acted rationally, it could have simply made a public statement saying it deeply disapproved of what Folau wrote on Twitter yet his words are protected under the Constitution of Australia.

Instead, the board panicked and revealed its own shortcomings in dealing with the crisis. Management’s behaviour seems to have filtered down to the players too. Several Wallabies made comments suggesting they may boycott the team if Folau stays. It is almost guaranteed they won’t sacrifice their lucrative contracts to virtue signal. Pure vanity at its worst.

Why hasn’t the RA board removed the coach for poor real world performance? The board is there to build a team that can win. That’s what sells tickets and brings fans.  Coach Michael Cheika’s record is the worst of any Wallabies coach period. Yet he remains.

He has a 43% overall win record at the helm. With the All Blacks its 17%. England 13%. Ireland 20%.  Even Scotland is 50%.

Bob Dwyer – 64% win record

Alan Jones – 68%

Greg Smith – 63%

Rod Macqueen – 79%

Eddie Jones – 58%

John Connolly- 59%

Robbie Deans – 58%

Ewen Mackenzie- 50%

Maybe the board should consider Cheika’s actual performance rather than his views on Folau’s social media engagement. Clearly political correctness is a bigger priority at RA.

Please spare us the “inclusivity & diversity” babble. By explicitly trying to exclude Folau for his religious beliefs, RA clearly acts how it proclaims it does not. Furthermore to offer $1m shows that the RA has little case to answer for. Whatever ‘code of conduct or inclusion’ clauses in his contract may exist, they do not supersede the Constitution.

CM does not think highly of what Folau said but defends his right to say it.

RA’s board should be focused on what matters (winning)  rather than wasting countless time and money trying to restore their tarnished reputation to a tiny cabal of social justice warriors.

Remy Gardner gets his first ever podium

Aussie Moto2 motorcycle racer, Remy Gardner (son of 1987 500cc world champ Wayne Gardner), won his first ever podium in Argentina today taking 2nd place. It is always interesting to see the prodigy follow in his father’s footsteps. This sport takes no prisoners and Remy showed all the mongrel of his old man today. He was really in with a chance to win. Rode a near faultless race.

With this confidence boost he may well see himself as a challenger for the title. A long shot? Today’s performance showed he’s up for it. Second in the championship.

The unhinged left

How deranged must Washington State law makers be to legislate against someone on the ballot paper? Surely voters can self determine whether tax returns are an election issue without having the state pass laws to try to prevent it. How scared should they be? The silly thing is that Hillary Clinton took 54% of the vote in Washington in 2016. Some 1.742mn votes. 500,000 more than Trump. That’s a healthy margin. Ironically the law would protect only those who wouldn’t vote for him in the first place.

One can be critical of many things with respect to Trump. Grabbing p*ssies was on the 2016 ballot paper. He still won. Yet the Democrats show themselves to be the party that doesn’t believe voters are intelligent enough to make their own decisions. Talk about peak Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS).

Of course Washington wants other states to take its lead. However why not just come with superior policies and better candidates to fight for the 2020 election? If Trump doesn’t live up to expectations he will be booted from office anyway. Might as well fight fair. This does nothing but shore up his base.