The GIST’s Quote of the Week

“Let people know how you feel about it. Because what happened to them is unfair. It’s happening everywhere and they are heroes and icons for standing up.”
— Taylor Swift, backing the US Women’s National Team’s fight for equal pay, at the Teen Choice Icon Awards. While we’re not huge fans of her recent releases, we sure do support this message.

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Tale as old as time

The GIST: Stop us if you’ve heard this one already: a male athlete and a female athlete win the same tournament, and he gets paid twice as much as she does. Sound familiar? This is the story of the wage gap in the Rogers Cup, where Rafael Nadal took home $1.049 million, while Bianca Andreescu won a cool $519,480.

  • Andreescu actually took home less than the men’s runner-up, Daniil Medvedev, who left with $531,010. So, essentially, it’s more lucrative to be a losing man than a winning woman?

It’s 2019. What gives?:In this case, there are some arguably “valid” reasons for this particular wage gap. One of them has to do with tennis’ governing bodies.

  • Unlike soccer, for example, which is run by FIFA for both men and women, there are two organizing bodies in professional tennis: the ATP, which governs men’s pro tennis, and the WTA, for the women. Each organization runs independently, but they often work together to host joint tournaments.

Got it. But why does this matter?:The Rogers Cup is one of those shared events. However, the weight of the tournament is different for each side. For the men, it’s a Masters 1000 tournament, worth 1000 points inthe ATP rankings. For the women, it’s a Premier 5 event, worth 900 points.

  • In other words, if a Grand Slam tournament (the US Open, for example) is a tier I event, then the men’s Rogers Cup would be a tier II and the women’s Rogers Cup would be a tier III. The lower the tier, the less prize money.

Seems strange:You’re not wrong. And given that the Rogers Cup attracts high-calibre men and women (heck, queen Serena Williams was playing!), Tennis Canada, which operates Rogers Cup,couldmandate an equal prize pool.

  • Rogers Communications as the sponsor could also use the revenue from our ridiculously high phone bills to match the prize money. But neither Tennis Canada nor Rogers has stepped up. Yet.

Sounds complicated:Equal pay always is. Look no further than what the US Women’s National soccer team is going through in theirfight for pay equity. The good news? Tennis is one of the most progressive sports out there in terms of equal pay.

  • The US Open (the final grand slam of the season) starts in a week and a half, and everybody, thanks to tennis icon and equal rights advocate Billie Jean King, gets paid the same.

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I got 99 problems but the NFL ain't one

The GIST: Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation is joining forces with the NFL in a multi-tiered partnership. In his biggest collab since “Drunk In Love,” Jay-Z and his team will help manage the Super Bowl halftime show, create new NFL media content, as well as assist in community activism initiatives.

Wait, I thought Jay-Z hated the NFL?: Yeah, same. Jay-Z has been pretty outspoken about the NFL’s unfair treatment of unsigned quarterback (QB) Colin Kaepernick, who started the #TakeAKnee movement in 2016 in protest of racial inequality and police brutality towards people of colour.

How does The GIST feel about it?: On the one hand, we’re still shocked that Jay-Z would partner with the NFL given their history. On the other hand, to get Jay-Z to partner with them, the NFL must have convinced him that they’re serious about transforming themselves into a more supportive and inclusive league.

  • It also means there’s a chance Beyoncé could perform at the Super Bowl halftime show again, and we’re obviously 110% here for that.

But…: We think the better question is what do you think about the partnership? Of the GISTers who voted on our Instagram story yesterday, 52% said they’re “not about” the deal. What do you think?

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Automatic, supersonic, hypnotic, funky fresh

The GIST: In other music-sports crossover news, singer Ciara, Seattle Seahawks NFL QB Russell Wilson (aka Ciara’s husband) and rapper Macklemore have all joined the MLS’ Seattle Sounders ownership group.

Why is this a big deal?: Because freshly minted owners Ciara and other prominent Seattle-area women (like Microsoft CFO Amy Hood) are a welcome change to a male-dominated ownership structure in sports. In fact, less than 7% of owners across major sports are women.

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What's up this week

Saturday: It’s the Year of the Returner in the CFL. The single-season record for touchdown returns is 22. We’ve already seen 18 this season and we’re only halfway through. Incredible.

  • Ottawa Redblack DeVonte Dedmon has run back two (in the same game, and they were magnificent), so watch the Redblacks host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at 4 p.m. ET to see what else he has in store.

All weekend: The BMW Championship, the second of three PGA golf playoff events, starts today at the legendary Medinah Country Club.

Now until Sunday: The Western & Southern Open tennis tournament is underway in Cincinnati, Ohio (which is neither west nor south). Check out what time superstars like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic (pronounced JOKE-OH-VITCH) and Ashleigh Barty are set to play here.

Can you believe that the CP Women’s Open LPGA tournament starts Monday? Neither can we. Part of what makes this tournament special is its focus on giving back. SickKids Foundation is the primary charity partner for this year’s tournament and when you attend, you can help support SickKids too.

How? Well, when you’re there, you can donate $20 to receive premium seating in the CP Fan Zone. It’s a win-win. So purchase your tickets here, and remember to use code GIST19at checkout for a 15% discount on grounds tickets.

P.S. The CP Women’s Open is one of The GIST’s partners.