When this summer's Women's World Cup final set a television ratings record and got most of the United States buzzing about women's soccer, it looked like we had finally turned a corner in the fight for gender equality in sports.
Sure, female soccer players still aren't being paid anywhere near what their male counterparts are making, but putting the sport front and center created hope this wage gap could be shrinking.
Even the most ardent naysayers had to be feeling a change of heart after seeing an uptick in NWSL attendance and the 44,000 fans who came out to Pittsburgh's Heinz Field to support the USWNT this past Sunday in an exhibition match.
The USWNT drew 44,000 Sunday, its most ever for a game that didn't matter and a very good sign http://t.co/LvuvLtoUY4 pic.twitter.com/XmDneJOXmn — ESPN (@espn) August 17, 2015
But that optimism took a blow following the shocking revelation that Women's World Cup stars, like Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair, are being forced by the NWSL to stay in hotels ridden with bed bugs and mold.
Sinclair and Morgan play for the Portland Thorns, but they recently stayed at the Adams Mark Hotel in Missouri during a road trip.
They refused to keep quiet after encountering horrible accommodations.
Christine Sinclair tweeted out a warning to the entire NWSL.
WARNING to @NWSL teams and anyone staying at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Kansas City, MO #bedbugs #notok — Christine Sinclair (@sincy12) August 15, 2015
Alex Morgan since deleted her tweet of outrage, but she reportedly said,
@NWSL there's no other way to address continuing problems. Hotels have been unacceptable. For ex. :Bed bugs/mold @Adams Mark Hotel in KC.
In response to the allegations, the NWSL released the following statement to Sports Illustrated.
During a recent road trip, a Portland Thorns FC player reported finding bed bugs in her hotel room at the team hotel in Kansas City. The hotel apologized, quickly provided a new room, and insisted the problem had been corrected... Player safety and comfort is important to all teams of the NWSL, and we are always seeking ways to improve our club and league operations. We regret the situation and apologize to the player involved.
Really? How about making sure accommodations are acceptable before a team is forced to stay somewhere.
But credit goes to the NWSL's Seattle Reign for the best response to the whole sad situation.
Guess we're going to have to rethink the new mascot… pic.twitter.com/S9lMtRmL3G — Seattle Reign FC (@SeattleReignFC) August 18, 2015
I understand the NWSL doesn't make as much money as most other professional sports leagues in this country, but those conditions are appalling, and no athlete should ever be subject to that.