Coleman forced to backtrack on Twitter comment after furious backlash from peers
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Reporter
PSA member Ben Coleman was forced to retract his attack on the equal prize money on offer at the US Open.
After he Tweeted a message attacking the decision, world No.85 Coleman (pictured right) was inundated with angry responses from WSA members and general squash fans.
But, after a phenomenal women’s final, in which Nicol David beat Laura Massaro in a compelling 84-minute battle, he issued an apology. He said:
“I want to apologise to anyone who was upset or offended by my original comments on here. It was an ill informed comment and as a PSA player myself, I shouldn’t have posted that on a social media site. I’m all for squash growing as a sport to where it should be! Apologies.”
The US Open 2013 distributed prize money of $250,000 dollars among male and female players, and hosts Drexel University promised to raise the total prize fund to one million dollars after signing a ten-year deal with US Squash to stage the event.
PSA chief executive Alex Gough said earlier in the day: “Having equal prize money at the 2013 US Open is a first for the sport of squash and everyone involved in US Squash and at the US Open should be rightly proud of their achievements.
“Squash is a physically demanding sport for both male and female players and unlike in many other sports, matches follow exactly the same format in squash regardless of gender, so to see the female game treated on equal footing as the men financially can only be considered as a step forward for the sport as a whole.
“I believe this development has once again shown squash’s qualities as a forward thinking sport and everyone involved in the game remains fully committed to ensuring that we expand and grow the sport in every area available to us and increasing the level of gender equality within the game can only be beneficial for everyone in pursuit of that goal.”
Nick Matthew, who finished runner-up to Gregory Gaultier, Tweeted: “For the record I think @USSQUASH & Delaware Investments deserve tremendous praise for the equal prize money initiative & I’m fully behind it.”
Essex player Coleman has qualified for the forthcoming men’s World Championship in Manchester, which carries prize money of $275,000.
Astonishingly, there is no women’s World Open taking place in 2013, despite the sport’s recent bid for a place in the 2020 Olympics highlighting the strength of both men’s and women’s world tours.
The presentation panel in Buenos Aires featured former world champion Sarah Fitzgerald, and world champion David was a prominent supporter of the campaign throughout.
This is the Tweet from Ben that stirred up such a hornet’s nest:
I'm sorry but I completely disagree with their being equal prize money in the @USOpenSquash
Not a sexist thing! #usopensquash
— Ben Coleman (@ben_coleman91) October 16, 2013
And here is a selection of comments:
Intelligence can't always be helped @ben_coleman91 but even so the concept of respect shouldn't be that hard to grasp #schoolboyerror
— Jenny Duncalf (@JennyDuncalf) October 17, 2013
@ben_coleman91 Tennis example, Wimbledon equal prize money. Murray spent 1509 mins on court and got paid same as Bartoli's 606 mins!! Equal?
— Joe Magor (@CMStringers) October 17, 2013
@ben_coleman91 do you think that people would rather pay to watch you or Nicol David play? If the quality of squash is 'So much better'?
— Victoria Lust (@victoriaflust) October 17, 2013
Pictures courtesy of US Open Squash
I’m glad Ben had the courage to post his original misgivings about pay parity. It caused a lot of people to have a dep thought or two.
Despite the original careless remark ( something that I have frequently been guilty of) Ben has shown real class and courage in his gracious apology. Some people who have commented on this issue have not been as deeply thoughtful or perhaps still cling to views more characteristic of Victorian times. Would really appreciate it if someone would publicize the arguments used by Billie Jean King and others in the fight for parity.
I have given my thoughts at millmansquash.com and so have the nay sayers. Please will someone give the definitive argument pro women’s parity?
Men and women doing equal work and work rated as of equal value are entitled to equal pay as per ever since 1970, when the Equal Pay Act was introduced. The law on equal pay is now set out in the ‘equality of terms’ provisions of the Equality Act 2010.
So being a professional squash player is a job, it is work, therefore pay should be equal regardless of gender.
As someone has already mentioned, all players play best of five games and after the recent US Open I think it’s quite clear how hard the ladies played…just as hard as the men…but for longer!
Looks like most people, male and female are (now) in agreement that equal pay should exist in squash…what needs to be dealt with now, is raising the amount of earnings for squash players…they deserve better and they deserve more…!
I attended the finals and ended up sitting next to a HUGE Malaysian contingent who were cheering loudly for Nicol for the whole match. They ironically left after her match and did not stay for the mens matches. Neither Greg or Nick drew such a unified, large group to the matches.
This year’s US Open was a huge step forward in terms of attendance and prize money in the States. Player/fan base development is key to the future growth of squash, especially in the U.S. where we don’t have any top 25 players making it to the finals of tournaments.
It is lamentable that he was intimidated into retracting. Feminists (including male fellow travellers) don’t want a fair and reasoned debate, they want to enforce their mistaken and discriminatory misunderstanding of fairness by the use of intimidation. When did anyone of that ilk ever advocate equal pay for male models? Or express alarm that boys are doing worse at school and university nowadays?
Both men and women should be paid what they earn. In theory the women could justly earn more by bringing more money into the sport, but until they bring in an equal amount it is discrimination against men to pay them the same, as that can only be done by paying the men less than they have earned.
No man should put any money into a professional sport which discriminates against his sex, and nor should any woman support a sport which would discriminate against her own son.