Las Vegas Aces’s forward A’Ja Wilson made headlines a couple of weeks ago after it was announced that now Lakers’ Small Forward LeBron James would be signing a 154 Million Dollar contract. The deal is for the next four seasons and prompted Wilson to tweet out the message below.
154M ……….. must. be. nice. We over here looking for a M 🙃 but Lord, let me get back in my lane pic.twitter.com/IFDZLlI53z
— A’ja Wilson (@_ajawilson22) July 2, 2018
Her teammate Kelsey Plum tweeted out last week that WNBA players are not looking to be compensated in the same capacity as their male counterparts, but they are looking to increase their stake in the revenue share to 50 percent. Right now their current CBA deal gives them around 20 percent according to Plum.
I’m tired of people thinking that us players are asking for the same type of money as NBA players.. we are asking for the same percentage of revenue shared within our CBA. NBA players receive around 50% of shared revenue within their league, whereas we receive around 20%.
— Kelsey Plum (@Kelseyplum10) July 12, 2018
Two days before Diana Taurasi jumped into the conversation during an interview with See Hendo.
“We have been talking about this for the past ten years, and it is the same adage. She would continue by stating that it is going to take drastic measures to get anything done. You can talk about it, and you can post it on Instagram we had an opportunity four years ago to take a stand as players. Instead, we took a bad CBA deal and anytime where you want something to make a difference you have to be willing to risk it all. At that time we weren’t, and we took a bad deal, and now we are in the same position we were 12 years ago. Not making a lot of money and not many improvements as a league we eventually have to take a stand as players.”
During an interview, with Phoenix Mercury’s center Brittney Griner later that evening via The Hype Magazine after their road game in Dallas Texas. I asked her the same question about equal pay in the WNBA and here is what Griner had to say, We should get paid more I don’t know where it is supposed to come from that is not my job. That is somebody else’s job, but we should definitely get paid more there is no reason why should have to go overseas to make a living… All we hear is that it is going to get better and we are working on it… So, what is happening? Because we do not see it in our paychecks.” Said Griner, I would follow up that question with asking did they plan on teaming up with Hope Solo, because she is having similar issues with the Team USA Soccer Federation to try to figure it out across the board?
Griner would continue by stating: I mean at this point; maybe we should go on strike and not play and see if anybody cares at this point I would be willing to do it. At this point, it is not getting any better talking about it. It is going to come down to at the end of my career why the hell am I still playing in the WNBA. Like I am playing for what? To hurt myself, so I can not go overseas? And honestly, if I weren’t with the Phoenix Mercury, I would not be playing right now in the WNBA for What? Why? You do your job to make money to support you. This is not doing anything overseas is. So, I am not going to put that forever!”
NBA All-Stars Damian Lillard and Demar DeRozan chimed in on the conversation as well, voicing their support for women’s game.
Damian Lillard said to Her Hoop Stats: “They deserve a lot more respect. They deserve to make a lot more money than they do. I think it’s time people start recognizing that they are professional athletes and they should be treated like it and their league should be elevated…”
DeRozan would also speak on the topic “Women’s game, in general, is awesome. I think they deserve way more recognition than what they’re getting and tonight’s game is a great example of that. The excitement, how hard they play…” told Her Hoop Stats
.@dame_lillard on the @WNBA: “They deserve a lot more respect. They deserve to make a lot more money than they do. I think it’s time people start recognizing that they are professional athletes and they should be treated like it and their league should be elevated…” pic.twitter.com/QHgst1dSjI
— Her Hoop Stats (@herhoopstats) July 8, 2018
.@DeMar_DeRozan: “Women’s game, in general, is awesome. I think they deserve way more recognition than what they’re getting and tonight’s game is a great example of that. The excitement, how hard they play…” @WNBA #wnba #WatchMeWork pic.twitter.com/rtkxCtkKGO
Earlier this week during an interview with the Big 3 executives I asked them to share their thoughts on the pay concerns in the WNBA and how this issue could be resolved?
“One thing that Cube and Jeff did in structuring our league was to make it clear from the outset in the manner we are structured with all of our communication. We work with our players and we work with our coaches they are a part of building this league with us. We are not looking to build it on their backs without regard to their contributions and input. And all the business issues to which you just referred to with respect to whether its WNBA issues, NFL issues, or any issues. I’m not going to comment on how the WNBA can approach this or how these problems can be addressed, but I will comment strongly that one of the things that thrilled me about the opportunity to join Jeff Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube was the dramatically different approach that these men took to building a league with players, and not on the backs of the players.” Said Big 3 Chairman of the Board, Amy Trask.
Al (Davis) said to me repeatedly throughout my career that “the players are the game” and that is the premise upon which @icecube and @JeffKwatinetz are building @thebig3 – and the expression on Cube’s face ⤵️ is because I said (on TV) that 18 + 8 = 24. https://t.co/eUhcBFFHGW
— Amy Trask (@AmyTrask) July 20, 2018
Trask would continue, “look I have spent almost 30 years working for Al Davis, who told me from day one of my career working in the NFL, kid the players are the game, and he was right! The players are the game it is far easier to go out and find a lawyer or a front office executive than a player. Jeff and Cube recognized from the beginning that we needed to build this league with our players, and that is what distinguishes us from those issues that other leagues are currently having to deal with.”