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This past Tuesday, the face of the program, Hillary Knight, and the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team announced via Twitter that they will not play in this year’s IIHF Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan, until “significant progress” is made with USA Hockey over fair wages and equitable support. The tournament starts March 31, and the U.S. is the host.
The team has asked USA Hockey for equitable support as required by the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act. Specifically, they have asked for support in the areas of financial compensation, youth team development, equipment, travel expenses, hotel accommodations, meals, staffing, transportation, marketing and publicity. These issues and concerned are all covered in full and more with their male counterparts.
The goals of their requests are to achieve fair treatment from USA Hockey, to initiate the appropriate steps to correct the outlined issues, and to move forward with a shared goal of promoting and growing girls and women in the sport while representing the United States in future competitions, including the IIHF Women’s World Championship.
The normative theory in play is Hobbes’ social contract theory, as well as the role of utilitarianism. An action will then be said to be “right” as long as it satisfactorily causes good consequences compared to alternative actions, and it will be “wrong” if it doesn’t. Utilitarianism doesn’t discriminate or encourage egoism. It is wrong to harm others to benefit yourself or another area such as this (being the male counterparts) because everyone counts. However the argument at stake is that what the women’s team produces in terms of a fanbase and spectator revenue is not nearly the same as the men’s team, at any level. Sports is all about money, and for there to be equal pay it’s a very touchy area to succeed in. However, by doing the right thing and paying these women athletes who do the same as their male counterparts is morally correct and abides by what the social contract theory stands for, although there is much to be lost in what areas prosper to keep the program alive.