When members of the United State’s Women’s Soccer team finished their task by not just talking the talk, but walking the walk, and winning their fourth World Cup, they celebrated in their own way, regardless of what the country they were representing thought about them.

All the chatter to follow was ‘they make millions of dollars, could they at least respect the flag.’

Wrong.

Female athletes are underpaid compared to their male counterparts, and when Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd put the United State’s dominance on international display Sunday afternoon in France, they were caring much more about representing their country than the amount of money they would get paid.

Which isn’t much by the way.

I need to get one thing cleared up before I go on.

I have disagreed with a lot of what Rapinoe has said. But many people argue that she isn’t allowed to speak her mind, and Donald Trump can say whatever he wants. Now that’s laughable. I wrote to respect the President. And I’ll stand by that, but I tip my cap to Rapinoe for fighting back.

Now on to the equal pay stuff.

In 1972 Billie Jean King received $10,000 for winning the U.S. Tennis Open, while Ilie Nastase, the men’s champion, was awarded $25,000. From then on King lobbied for women to receive equal pay in tennis, and one year later the U.S. Open became the first Grand Slam to offer equal prize money, and although it took 35 more years, the other major tournaments followed as well.

During the last World Cup cycle, the United State’s men’s team received $5.4 million for losing in the round of 16 in 2014, while the women’s team received $1.7 million for winning it in 2015.

This year the total prize money for the women’s world cup was $30 million, which was up from $15 million in 2015. There were 552 players representing 24 countries, and the United State’s took home less than $4 million as a team.

Last year 32 men’s teams competed for $400 million in prize money, with France taking home $38 million as the winners.

On a more stateside scale, the Women’s National Basketball Players Association announced last fall that it was opting out of its current collective bargaining agreement with the WNBA to negotiate for better pay, better working conditions, and better media coverage.

Many people want to argue that women deserve less money because the sports and leagues they play in don’t generate the same amount of money.

And my question is why?

Have you recently turned on a women’s sporting event? Because I promise you it will be worth your time.

Whether it’s tennis, women’s soccer, college basketball, or UFC, what women are doing in sports is just as impressive and unique as men.

We have all been able to rally around athletes like Serena Williams, the aforementioned Alex Morgan, Randa Rousey, Candace Parker and Maya Moore, so why aren’t they earning the same amount of money as Bryce Harper, Andrew Luck, and LeBron James?

The fight will never stop for equal women’s rights in the United States. And while it is in a much better place than most countries, sports is just the latest example showing how far we have to go in making this nation equal on all fronts.

Jared McMurry was born and raised in Montgomery County and is the Sports Editor of the Journal Review. He can be reached by email atjmcmurry@jrpress.com and by phone at 765-918-8656.

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