Like many, Myles Garrett was watching as the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team blew out Thailand in its 2019 World Cup opener.
But rather than celebrating the team's 13-0 victory, the Cleveland Browns star defensive end took to social media to share a different sentiment, calling for "equal pay for equal play" in a string of tweets.
"Pay, to me, should be based off of performance," Garrett wrote in one of his four public posts on the topic. "Yes viewership has something to do with it of course, but the perpetual disrespect of women’s sports because of the sexist thought process of women not performing up to men’s standards when it comes to sports is unbelievable.
"Comparatively, the difference in the amount of pub and exposure women’s sports gets compared to men’s is significant. The idea that women can’t entertain or dazzle us with talent as men do in some sports is backwards."
The conversation of equal pay for the USWNT has been at the forefront of the sport dating back to the team's World Cup championship in 2015. In 2016, five players from the team -- including stars Hope SOlo, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan -- filed a wage-discrimination action against the U.S. Soccer Federation, citing that the women's team was paid about one-fourth of what the men's team was, despite generating more than $20 million in revenue.
In 2017, a collective bargaining agreement was struck between the team and U.S. Soccer, which increased players' pay and improved match bonuses. It didn't however, guarantee equal pay between the women's and men's national team, the latter of which hasn't ever placed higher than eighth in the World Cup since 1930.
Earlier this year, all 28 members of the U.S. team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation, claiming "institutional gender discrimination. The lawsuit, which sought equal pay and treatment, was filed on International Women's Day.
With the start of the World Cup, the conversation surrounding the lawsuit -- which remains ongoing -- has only picked up, especially in light of the USWNT's dominant start to its championship defense. Taking one look at social media on Tuesday, it wasn't hard to find allies for the players, including Garrett, who deemed the pay gap between men and women "way too substantial."
"Sports is sports," he tweeted. "Doesn’t matter who is playing it. Those who play it at the highest level and exceptionally well should be represented and paid exceptionally in return."