After four U.S. Soccer sponsors --
Coca-Cola, Visa, Deloitte and Budweiser -- lashed out at the federation for its most recent legal filings in the gender discrimination suit pitting it against members of the U.S. women's national
team, U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro issued an apology Wednesday night.
"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 our Women's National Team. Our WNT players are incredibly talented and work tirelessly, as they have demonstrated time and again from their Olympic Gold medals to their World Cup titles.
"Even as we continue to defend the Federation in court, we are making immediate changes. I have asked the firm of Latham & Watkins to join and guide our legal strategy going forward. 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. As we do, we will continue to work to resolve this suit in the best interest of everyone involved."
At issue were positions taken by the federation's counsel, high-profile labor management firm Seyfarth Shaw, in response to the players' motion for a summary judgment.
Among the statements in the reply brief:
-- The women claimed their ability level is the same as the men “by ignoring the materially higher level of speed and strength required to perform the job of an MNT player."
-- "A reasonable juror could conclude that the job of MNT player requires materially different skill and more responsibility than plaintiffs’ job does, while also taking place under materially different working conditions."
-- "The job of MNT player (competing against senior men’s national teams) requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength than does the job of WNT player (competing against senior women’s national teams)."
SI.com: U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro Must Resign After Disgraceful Defense in USWNT Case
Coca-Cola called the
federation's views in its Monday filings "unacceptable and offensive." Budweiser said they didn't align "with our values, nor our view on women's soccer," while Deloitte said it was "deeply
Both Coca-Cola and Visa said it planned to meet with U.S. Soccer to discuss the flings.
Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire