New U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone
moved to clean up the damage caused by last week's filing by the federation in the gender discrimination lawsuit that pits it against members of the
U.S. women's national team.
On Monday, she said the federation had removed the offensive language from its final filing in its motion for summary judgment and it was transitioning to
Latham & Watkins as lead counsel in the case in U.S. district court in Los Angeles.
In response to the players' motion for summary judgment, Brian Stolzenbach
, the federation's
counsel from high-profile labor management firm Seyfarth Shaw, touched off an outrage by arguing, among other things, that the job of a men's national team player requires a higher level of skill and
more responsibility than that of a player on the women's national team.
In response, the players' spokeswoman Molly Levinson
said the argument belonged "in the Paleolithic Era. It
sounds as if it has been made by a caveman."
One after another, sponsors then lashed out at the federation for the language in the filing. Then-U.S. Soccer president Carlos
issued a statement, apologizing for what he said was "the offense and pain caused" by the language, but resigned a day later after being rebuked by MLS commissioner Don Garber
Athlete Council chairman Chris Ahrens
, two influential members of the federation's board of directors, and Cone, the federation vice president who replaced him.
"Last week's legal
filing was an error," Cone said on Monday night. "It resulted from a fundamental breakdown in our internal process that led to offensive assertions made by the Federation that do not represent our
She noted that Monday's legal filings in U.S. district court were submitted by Latham & Watkins attorneys Michele Johnson
and Jamie Wine
after work they
had done last week.
"We are going to do a comprehensive review of our internal process to better understand how this breakdown occurred and how it can be avoided in the future," she
added. "I expect that review to be completed shortly."
Cone said the last week had been difficult for those involved in American soccer and it came on top of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“It is our obligation to move quickly to repair the damage that has been done," she said. "I am committed to addressing this issue in an honest, transparent and forthright
Parlow Cone, who earned 158 caps and scored 75 goals for the USA in a career that spanned 12 years, is U.S. Soccer's first female president.
“The WNT is
the most successful soccer team in the world," added Cone, who won two Olympic gold medals (1996 and 2004) and one World Cup championship (1999). "As it relates to the lawsuit filed by the
women, I offer the perspective of a former player. I know how important it is for both the federation and the players to move beyond this and keep working together on what unites us. We only have one
federation and one senior women’s national team. We have to work together and move forward in a positive manner toward what I know are mutual goals, growing the game and winning.”
In response, Molly Levinson
, who has been the spokeswoman for the U.S. women's national team players, said, “These are times for unity, not division. USSF should stop trying to
change the conversation and just change. Pay women players equally.”