A girls' soccer team in Burlington, Vermont, took a stand for #EqualPay and got penalized

When the high school players scored their first goal, some took off their uniform jerseys to reveal white T-shirts that read #EqualPay.
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By Nicole Acevedo

A girls’ high school soccer team in Vermont made a statement in favor of equal pay for men and women in sports during a game on Friday.

But their protest came at a price.

When the players from Burlington High School scored their first goal, several took off their uniform jerseys to reveal white T-shirts emblazoned with the message #EqualPay, according to Burlington Free Press.

League rules bar the girls from wearing uniforms with slogans on them in official games, although they’re fine for practices and off-field activities, the team’s coach told NBC affiliate WPTZ in Plattsburgh, New York.

Referees issued yellow cards to at least four players at the Friday game.

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The shirts they displayed are part of a bigger campaign the soccer players are participating in.

Change the Story, an advocacy group that seeks to strengthen women's economic security, helped the student athletes print the shirts they displayed in the soccer field, WPTZ reported.

“What these girls are doing is just spectacular in terms of raising awareness and putting some focus on the fact we still have inequities in our system,” said Jessica Nordhaus of Change the Story.

The high school team told WPTZ that they were inspired by efforts from soccer star Megan Rapinoe and her teammates on the U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team to close the wage gap between male and female professional soccer players.

“It’s appalling, and it’s ridiculous that that’s still a thing,” Burlington High School varsity soccer player Maggie Barlow told WPTZ.

The girls have received orders for more than 500 #EqualPay shirts, including from male soccer players at their school. Shirts were also sent to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and his wife, according to the outlet.

“I think it takes everybody to really egg on a movement, so I thought we should help out in any way that we could,” said a Burlington High senior Helen Worden.

#EqualPay jerseys cost $25, but the team is inviting men to pay an additional $4.80 to represent closing the wage gap, the Free Press reported.

The money raised goes toward girls’ youth soccer in the community.