After the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Washington Mystics on Sunday 79-76, they were stranded at the airport, according to Sparks forward and President of the Players Association Nneka Ogwumike. The future Hall of Famer tweeted, First time for everything WNBA.
“So, yeah, we are roaming the airport. First time in my eleven seasons that I ever had to sleep in the airport, but based on travel, it is not expected that this has happened. It was a matter of time, so half of us are sleeping at the airport and half us are at a hotel, said Ogwumike.
“There weren’t enough rooms after our flight got delayed, delayed, and canceled at one am. Then rebooked for first in the morning. So, it is now 1:44 [EST], and we are here until 9 am [EST].”
This is not the first time WNBA players have dealt with being stranded at the airport. Four years ago, the Las Vegas Aces were supposed to travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Mystics but were stranded at the airport in Dallas for 24 hours due to their flight being canceled. They would have to cancel the game against the Mystics, which was made up later. The WNBA players fly commercial because not every team has access to a private plane or charters. Last season, the New York Liberty were fined $500,000 US for chartering flights to away games during the second half of the season last year and for other league rules violations, according to ESPN.
“time to find a constructive solution to this problem!”
“League says you can’t fly charter because different owners have different financial circumstances,” Tsai wrote in a follow-up tweet. “I’m working with Commissioner [Cathy] Englebert to find a charter sponsor.”
“Conversations with airline CEOs going well,” he added. “They get the idea of equity for women athletes.”
WNBA owners declined the opportunity to provide teams chartered flights for games, per Sports Illustrated.
According to SI, a few owner are afraid “that players would get used to” a higher quality treatment.