WNBAPA decides to opt-out of current CBA after 2019 season
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The WNBA Players Association announced Thursday its decision to opt-out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. That means the current contract, which went into effect in March 2014, will expire after the 2019 season.
The decision to terminate the contract comes after a season in which many WNBA players voiced their discontent with the league in relations to their salaries and travel.
It’s clear that there is a large pay gamp between the WNBA and their NBA counterparts.
During the 2015-16 season, the NBA earned $5.9 billion in revenue and paid its players roughly 50 percent of that, Sports Business Journal reported. On the other hand, the WNBA generated $51.5 million in revenue and paid its players less than 23 percent of that, according to the report.
The average WNBA salary starts around $50,000 and caps at $115,500. Meanwhile, the minimum NBA salary is $582,180.
Many players, including Las Vegas Aces forward A’Ja Wilson, have spoken out against the inequality.
Wilson, who was drafted No. 1 overall of the 2018 WNBA Draft, signed a three-year deal, worth just over $150,100 before the 2018 season. So when LeBron James signed a four-year, $154 million deal with the Lakers this summer, she wasn’t happy.
“154M ………. must. be. nice. We over here looking for a [million],” she tweeted.
And to add fuel to the fire, the G League announced last month that it’ll offer “select contracts” worth $125,000 to elite prospects.
Some players are also upset with their rigorous travel. While NBA teams fly in the comforts of private charters, the WNBA mandates that teams must fly commercial to create an equal playing field. This can create a serious travel nightmare, which the Aces experienced first-hand this season.
In August, the Aces spent more than 25 hours trying to travel to a game in Washington. After arriving just two hours before tip-off, the Aces, who were in a heated race for a playoff spot, made the decision to forfeit the game with concerns for player safety. It was the first time in the league’s 22-season history a team forfeited a game.
Dissatisfied players aren’t the only problem the WNBA faces.
Last month, Lisa Borders stepped down as WNBA president to become the first president and CEO of Time’s Up. She was the third executive to leave the league in six months. NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum is currently overseeing the WNBA on an interim basis while the league searches for Borders’ successor.
The WNBA is also searching for an original league franchise as the New York Liberty have been up for sale since last year.
Los Angeles Sparks forward and WNBAPA president Nneka Ogwumike detailed the players association’s decision to craft a new contract with the league in a Players Tribune article, titled “Bet on Women.”
“This is not just about business,” Ogwumike wrote. “This is deeply personal. This is about the kind of world we want to live in.
“We just want full transparency so we can figure out how to make common-sense changes that will help our players’ quality of life.”