The U.S. Women’s national soccer team can count Michael Strahan as a supporter — and not just because of their World Cup win on Sunday.
“I think it’s amazing. I think they should enjoy it. I think they should soak it all in because they deserve every bit of it,” Strahan told Variety on the red carpet on Thursday afternoon before hosting the 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.
And they deserve equal pay, he said. Earlier this year, the team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. soccer in hopes to gain equal pay in their sport.
“I think the biggest obstacle [to pay parity] is to stop this archaic way that we think of things and the archaic way that we look at women’s sports, as if it’s not equal to men’s sports,” Strahan said. “Because I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t seen a men’s soccer match in I can’t even tell ya [how long], but I sure have seen a lot of women’s soccer matches over the years. And I appreciate it so much and I appreciate them so much and I think they should get everything that they’re after.”
Strahan also weighed in on the criticism the team faced for what critics believed was excessive celebrating during their games. “you score a goal, you want to celebrate and you celebrate the goal the way you want,” he said. “Women can celebrate as well as men. Let them do it. Don’t say…’That’s not how a lady does it. They’re special; let them be special and enjoy their moment.”
Strahan also shared support for this year’s Kids Choice Legend Award-winner Dwyane Wade, who recently opened up to Variety about supporting his son attending Miami Pride.
“I love to see a parent who supports their kid,” he said. “He’s a legend in more ways than just sports to me and he’s been a great friend over the years. So, to see him do these things, I’m not surprised by it because I know the type of man that he is and I know the type of woman that his wife [Gabrielle Union] is. And I think hopefully they’ve opened up a lot of eyes on how to support your kids no matter what. And, you know what, they’re allowed to enjoy and live their life the way they feel.”
The 2019 Kids’ Choice Sports awards airs Aug. 10 on Nickelodeon.