WNBA Players Are Finally Going To Be Paid Respectably Following 'Historic' Collective Bargaining Agreement
All players will now make six-figure salaries.
The WNBA and its players' union have come to an agreement in regards to salary and maternity leave among other things, reports The Associated Press.
In what was referred to as a "historic" decision by WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, salaries of players will be raised by 53%, and all athletes will be making six figures and be allowed paid maternity leave. The plan was made public on Tuesday.
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“The [collective bargaining agreement] guarantees substantial [financial] increases," Engelbert told AP. "The way we are paying these players is different than the past. ... The top couple players are tripling (in pay) where they were. Other players are making $200,000-300,000. The average will be over $130,000. Everyone gets an increase here.”
For years, the WNBA has been under scrutiny, most notably for the substantial difference in player salary compared to its male counterpart, the NBA.
In 2018, The State highlighted the painful pay disparity between NBA and WNBA players by profiling Las Vegas Aces player A'ja Wilson. She signed a three-year contract with the Aces that is worth just over $55,000 per year. The piece then went on to note that Deandre Ayton, an NBA player, would receive $6.8 million in his first year with the Phoenix Suns. Additionally, just a year earlier, CNBC noted one of the top players in the WNBA, a six-time All-Star, Nneka Ogwumike, would work odd jobs in order to make ends meet.
With the new deal, such wage discrepancies should be a thing of the past. Now, the average salary of players will be $130,000, marking the first time the aforementioned number has hit six figures since the league's inception in 1997. Additionally, star players like Ogwumike will be able to earn more than half a million dollars.
Ogwumike also happens to be president of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association. She described the deal between the union and WNBA as a "collaborative effort."
“I think that we really all had the same things in mind and had different way of getting there," Ogwumike said according to NewsDay. "We really put our heads together and came with some ideas."
“We’re hoping to lift, not just women in sports and women in basketball, but women in society,” Engelbert added.
The plan still needs to be formally approved by league governors.