I promise that I am not going to say anything about referees. We’re all most likely sick of them and the topic by now. That doesn’t mean that there werent other things this week that got under my skin, so let’s see what happened.
A few weeks ago, I wrote in this column about the USWNT lawsuit regarding equal pay. That lawsuit hasn’t gone away, but I definitely want to give a big, fat, kudos to Luna Bar for giving each of the USWNT players going to the World Cup this summer $31,250. It’s the amount needed to bridge the wage gap. This isn’t just good, it’s awesome. Luna Bar is a division of Clif Bar, and for full disclosure, I used to be a rep for Clif Bar. However, that was more than 12 years ago, and let’s face it, they don’t care what I say. Additionally, I’m certain the company did the math on whether this made sense for their bottom line, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t praise a company for doing the right thing. Indeed, we should reward them. I’m not asking any of you to buy their products, but I know that I’m more inclined to do so, given their support of the USWNT that I also support.
Juventus striker Moise Kean has quickly made a name for himself. Four goals in four games for club and country have raised his visibility immensely. Unfortunately, the amount of racism he encountered in his last match against Cagliari reeks of the type of stuff I’ve had to write about in previous articles. In addition to boos, and whistles, the young Italian star was subjected to monkey sounds from the Cagliari fans. It was loud enough to be heard on the television broadcast. What was almost as bad was Cagliari President Tommasso Giuliani all but blaming Kean for provoking the racist chants by standing quiet and still. Let’s be clear, if Kean had done a double backflip with a twist, the response would have been the same. This type of reprehensible behavior does not belong in the beautiful game, and it certainly shouldn’t be defended by those in power.
Jill Ellis called Ali Krieger up for the friendlies against Australia tonight and Belgium on Sunday. This is good, and also ugly. There are those who might argue that the state of the youth in the USWNT defense is bad enough that it prompted Ellis to need to call up Krieger. That is certainly an argument that could be made. However, with Krieger sitting at 98 caps, this is the opportunity for Ellis to get her to 100. It was understandable that Ellis may have moved past Krieger and I had accepted that she may never get to 100, but now that she has called her up, it would be unconscionable for her to not play Krieger in the matches. It would also be a public relations disaster. As such, I expect Ali to get to 100, and that is something we can all celebrate. If she doesn’t, it will definitely be ugly.
Finally, a quick well wishes to Pele who was hospitalized (as a precaution), to get better soon.