Megan Rapinoe: Basketball coach Dawn Staley thanks footballer for work on equal pay

Basketball coach Dawn Staley has thanked Megan Rapinoe and the US women’s national team players for their work on pushing for equal pay in sport

Basketball coach Dawn Staley has thanked Megan Rapinoe and the US women’s national team players for their work on pushing for equal pay in sport.

Staley recently became the highest paid Black coach in women’s basketball, and one of the highest paid coaches in the sport.

She signed a seven year contract worth $22.4 million (£16.3 million) with the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, with a base salary of $1 million (£726,000) per year.

The 51-year-old is now as well-paid as Geno Auriemma, the head coach of the Connecticut Huskies.

Staley appeared on ABC News to discuss her new contract and pay equity in sport, and thanked US football star Rapinoe for her efforts.

"To Megan and crew, I appreciate you for your fight," she said. "I hope that one day, everybody sits where I'm sitting, that has been discriminated against.

"It's our time, in women's sports, and for women in general, it's our time. I think now, this is going to become a popular right thing to do, and I hope it becomes the norm, because it's the right thing to do."

Rapinoe has spearheaded the US women’s national team fight to achieve equal pay. The side filed a landmark gender discrimination lawsuit against US Soccer in 2019.

Last December, the USWNT agreed to settle part of the lawsuit over claims of unequal working conditions.

This saw the players given the same conditions as their male counterparts in terms of travel, accommodation, the right to play on grass rather than artificial turf, and staffing.

But they are still appealing a decision on wage discrimination, after a United States District Court judge threw out players' claims that they were underpaid in comparison with the men's team in May 2020.

Dawn Staley helped the US to an Olympic gold medal in the women's basketball contest at Tokyo 2020

Although Staley has been aided by Rapinoe’s tenacity and candour, she has also earned the right to be one of the best paid coaches in basketball.

In her 13 years with the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, Staley has guided the women’s basketball team to three NCAA Final Fours and the 2017 NCAA Championship title.

She also coached the US to an Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball at Tokyo 2020.

Staley also had an impressive career as a player, earning three Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles. She was named in the WNBA's Top 15 Players of All Time in 2011.

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