Sky players stand in solidarity with U.S. women’s soccer team and its fight for equality

The World Cup win meant a lot for women’s soccer, but it also meant a lot for women’s sports in general.

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United States of America v Netherlands : Final - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France

The World Cup win obviously meant a lot for women’s soccer, but it also meant a lot for women sports in general.

Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Hours before the Sky hosted the Wings on Sunday at Wintrust Arena, several Sky players watched the U.S. women’s soccer team defeat the Netherlands 2-0 to win its second consecutive World Cup.

Guard Diamond DeShields was so inspired, she shared a video on Instagram of her chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A.”

“I love it,” DeShields said before the Sky’s 78-66 victory. “Anytime the people representing our country on a global stage [win] a gold medal . . . it’s always something I feel like all Americans should be proud of, but I feel like this was more for women. It was a good moment for women in sports.”

The World Cup title obviously meant a lot for women’s soccer, but it also meant a lot for women’s sports in general.

Female athletes are held to a different standard than their male counterparts. That was evident during the World Cup, DeShields said. The U.S. was heavily criticized for what some deemed excessive scoring in a 13-0 victory against Thailand and for its goal celebrations.

“It’s laughable,” DeShields said. “But it just goes to show how tough it is to be a woman in sports. And I think that with the platform being as large and as grand as it was, it shed a lot of light on what it means to be a woman in sports and how tough it can be and challenging.”

The victory was the ultimate way to silence the critics, guard Gabby Williams said.

“They proved their point,” she said. “They spoke it, but they backed it up and they’re still facing that misogyny and hate even though they won. . . . If that doesn’t say kind of the state of this country, then I don’t know what does.”

In March, members of the women’s national team sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination. In the lawsuit, the players argue that the federation doesn’t pay the female players equal wages compared to their male counterparts, who haven’t been nearly as successful.

Similar to women’s soccer, WNBA players are fighting for better pay and player experience in their ongoing negotiations for a new collective-bargaining agreement.

The Sky and many other women in the basketball community support the soccer team in their fight for equality, including Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw, who was sitting courtside -Sunday.

“I don’t think just because they win they deserve to be paid equally,” said McGraw, who has been an advocate for women’s rights. “Even if they lost, they deserve to be paid equally. They’re doing the same thing that the men are doing, they’re making more money with the merchandising, their record overall has been better. It’s not just about wins and losses, it’s just about equality.”

NOTE: Sky center Astou Ndour was named MVP of the EuroBasket tournament Sunday after she helped Spain win its second consecutive title.

Foul trouble limited Ndour, who’s Spanish and Senegalese, in Spain’s 86-66 victory against France. She finished with four points, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Ndour played an integral part during the tournament by averaging 14.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in six games.

Ndour, who hasn’t been with the team since June 1, is expected to rejoin the Sky before they host the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday.

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