President Joe Biden made the case Wednesday that the pay disparity between men and women has hurt the economy, bringing members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team to the White House to help set new goals for equality.
Wednesday marked “Equal Pay Day” — which is how far into the year women must work on average to make up the pay disparity between what men and women earned the prior year. The Census Bureau estimates that a woman working full-time would earn about 82 cents for each dollar paid to a man.
Biden and his wife, Jill, hosted a roundtable with Margaret Purce and Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, and other members of the squad who attended virtually. The president then signed a proclamation honoring the day.
“Doesn’t matter if you’re an electrician, an accountant or part of the best damn soccer team in the world,” Biden said. “The pay gap is real. And this team is living proof that you can be the very best at what you do and still have to fight for equal pay.”
The women’s team has won the World Cup four times, most recently in 2019. But it sued the U.S. Soccer Federation that same year over wage discrimination. The suit was dismissed in May because the women had accepted a different base pay structure than the men’s soccer team. The women’s team plans to appeal the dismissal.
“Despite those wins. I’ve been devalued, I’ve been disrespected and dismissed because I’m a woman,” Rapinoe said Wednesday with the president. “And I’ve been told that I don’t deserve any more than less, because I am a woman.”
The pay gap impacts the entire economy in ways that exacerbate other problems, including racial inequality. The National Women’s Law Center found that Black women earn just 63 cents for a dollar paid to a non-Hispanic white man, while Hispanic women make only 55 cents. That difference translates into a loss of roughly $1 million in income over a lifetime.
“These aren’t simply women’s issues,” Cecilia Rouse, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said at Wednesday’s press briefing. “They affect all families, the ability of our economy to recover, and our nation’s competitiveness.”
The Biden administration is pushing several policies to help narrow the gap. It backs the Paycheck Fairness Protection Act, which would enhance a 1963 law by improving employer’s transparency on wages, require employers to show that any discrepancies are because of job qualifications and prevent employers from retaliating against workers who express concerns about pay disparities.
The administration also supports paid family leave and greater access to child care. A February research paper from the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that the pandemic caused mothers to disproportionately leave the job market, as many lacked in-class school and child care options. The paper noted that a flexible work schedule would likely make life easier for mothers with jobs.
The NHL announced Wednesday that Tim Peel’s career as a league referee is over after he was picked up by a TV microphone saying he wanted to give the Nashville Predators a penalty, an incident that put the notion of “make-up” calls squarely in the spotlight.
Peel will “no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future,” the league said. The 54-year-old Peel had planned to retire next month, but his early exit sparked discussion across the league about the approach and mindset of officials tracking the games.
“Watch what happens at the end of games,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour, a former center who played more than 1,600 NHL games. “It seems to always get a power play, the team that’s behind. I think it’s just human nature. It’s hard. I know they’re not trying to do that. I don’t believe that that’s how they go about it. It’s just human nature to maybe look for the team that’s down, but it seems to happen all the time.”
NHL vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said “nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game” and that Peel’s conduct “is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand from our officials and that of our fans, players, coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve.”
The NHL determined it was Peel’s voice on the TV broadcast of the Predators home game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night after Nashville forward Viktor Arvidsson was issued a minor tripping penalty five minutes into the second period.
“It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early in the,” the unidentified official was heard saying before the audio cut off. Peel worked the game with referee Kelly Sutherland.
“There is no justification for his comments, no matter the context or intention,” Campbell said.
Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice, who is in his 23rd NHL season behind the bench, said make-up calls were much more common in the past.
“If they absolutely blow a call, I think the referees just leave it there and I don’t think they bring it into the rest of the game,” Maurice said. “I haven’t felt that they’ve felt he need to even it up. I think that was more true 20 years ago.”
The Predators won 2-0 and were called for four penalties, compared with the Red Wings’ three. Nashville’s Matt Duchene on a local radio appearance Wednesday wondered aloud what would have happened if Detroit scored on the power play, won the game and the Predators missed the playoffs by a point.
“The crazy part is he was talking to (teammate Filip) Forsberg in that clip, and he told our bench that. Really bizarre,” Duchene said. “I’ve always been frustrated when I’ve seen even-up calls or stuff like that. If one team is earning power plays, you can’t punish them because the other team is not.”
Duchene and other players around the league cast doubt on “make-up calls” being a regular part of hockey, though he acknowledged “there’s definitely nights where you’re skeptical of it.”
“Some of the good refs definitely have a feel for the game and they know the ebbs and flows and they know to try to keep the game as even as possible unless the play dictates otherwise,” New York Rangers forward Ryan Strome said. ”But as players, all you can ask for is that they try to call it as fair as possible.”
Washington center Nicklas Backstrom, a 14-year veteran, said the incident was a first for him.
“I’ve never heard anything like that,” Backstrom said. “I think it’s maybe unfortunate that it happened and came out that way, but at the same time, the league had to do what they had to do.”
Most players and coaches expressed respect for on-ice officials and lamented how difficult their jobs are keeping track of the fast-paced game.
“He made a mistake, but unfortunately you don’t want make up calls to be part of the game,” Edmonton’s Adam Larsson said. “I don’t think it’s right.”
Retired player Brent Sopel echoed Brind’Amour, saying there’s a human element to officiating. While he doesn’t believe an official predetermines how many penalties he’s going to call before a game, Sopel said plays that occur or comments directed at officials during the action can influence decisions.
“It goes along with the game,” he said. “You’ve got to go back to what happened the rest of the game. What happened the game before? If somebody comes up to you and punches you in the face, guess what, you remember that.”
Peel made his NHL debut in 1999 and has officiated nearly 1,400 regular-season games. That level of experience made him a “senior-level official” in the terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Officials Association.
A message seeking comment on Peel’s status sent to NHLOA executive director Harry Radomski was not immediately returned.
“Sometimes they’re human: There’s times when they’ll make mistakes and they want to right the mistake sometimes,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. ”Timmy Peel has been in the league a long time. I respect Timmy and all the referees. For me, they call good games.”
Sidney Crosby and Tom Wilson have found something they agree on after years spent battling on opposite sides of the Penguins-Capitals rivalry.
Crosby, the longtime Pittsburgh captain, broached the topic of NHL players wanting to better understand the line between clean and dirty hits after teammate Brandon Tanev was given a major penalty for a hit on Boston’s Jarred Tinordi that appeared to many to be legal.
After serving a seven-game suspension for boarding, Wilson cited Crosby’s comments when pointing out there’s some confusion around the league.
“I hope as players we can get some clarity on what’s a good hit and what’s not,” Crosby said. “I know it’s fast, but right now it’s really hard to know what is in fact clean and what’s not and when you’re out there playing it’s important that you do know that.”
Wilson added: “There’s a lot of guys talking out about it around the game right now, captains on other teams saying things about the physical aspect of the game.”
The history between these two players is dotted with controversy. Wilson has been suspended multiple times for questionable hits, including one that gave Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese a concussion and broken jaw. Crosby has all but called Wilson a headhunter.
This season, Crosby and Wilson appear to be on the same page for once and each acknowledged officials have a tough job.
Joshua Smith, who runs the Scouting the Refs site that tracks officials’ calls and more, said players watching replays on iPads on the bench during games has had an effect.
“Guys aren’t just talking about a hit that happened in the first period: They’re watching it, they’re critiquing it on the bench and they’re talking about it and they’re seeing the replays,” said Smith, who has run the site since 2013. “They’re more informed, and that leads to some sharper criticism.”
The NHL declined comment on player criticism of officiating, which is nothing new in pro sports. In an interview earlier this season, director of officiating Stephen Walkom said he was pleased with how referees and linesmen were doing, especially given health and safety protocols limiting their time together. The league also has a video rulebook of examples of various penalties on its site.
There have been 22 major penalties this season, not counting fights. Some of the 95 fights, of course, have come after big hits, with all divisional play increasing the fisticuffs.
The league recently gave officials the ability to review certain situations, but only if it’s deemed a major at first. Wilson’s hit that injured Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo wasn’t called anything on the ice, leading Boston coach Bruce
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