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Columnist rips conversation around WNBA salaries: ‘Another form of misogyny’

The WNBA Draft ignited a debate and put a brighter spotlight on the salaries players receive as it was learned that Caitlin Clark will earn around $337,000 over four years as she starts her rookie season with the Indiana Fever.

Clark will earn $76,535 in her rookie season as a WNBA player and could earn $97,582 if the Fever picks up her fourth-year option, according to Spotrac.

Jemele Hill, a columnist for The Atlantic and former ESPN personality, expressed her displeasure with the conversation around WNBA salaries and wrote on X that comparing it to the NBA was “another form of misogyny.”

“I’m already annoyed by this conversation because for years, WNBA players have fought for more money,” Hill wrote. “And when they were outspoken, so many of y’all told them to shut up or reminded them how they had no value The NBA has had 50+ years of investment, media coverage, etc. After 27 years, the WNBA will not be the current NBA. So stop comparing them.

“Further context: This salary is for four months of basketball (40 games). Players also receive a free apartment + car. That doesn’t make the salaries acceptable, but now you know why so many women’s players play overseas to boost/supplement their income.

“Weaponizing this information against WNBA players is another form of misogyny. These women have been dreaming of playing professionally in front of American audiences their whole lives.


Jemele Hill in March 2024

“Instead of clowning and reminding them of what they’re not — buy the merchandise, go to the games, and watch the games on television. 

“Very easy to criticize when most of y’all couldn’t get paid to compete at anything.”

While players like Russell Wilson called for female athletes to get paid more, Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti made note of how revenue was being shared.

“The biggest stumbling block with the growth of WNBA player compensation is the way that revenue is being shared,” he wrote on X. “Per the 2020 CBA, the league must hit a certain budgeted revenue threshold annually before any revenue sharing kicks in. 

“While overall revenue is increasing, player’s ability to capitalize is still very limited. Change is imminent.”

Clark, like many athletes coming out of college, can still earn endorsement money from NIL deals. Clark has deals with State Farm, Panini America and Nike, among others.

Indiana Fever fans

The 2023 WNBA season was the most watched regular season in 21 years, averaging 505,000 viewers among ESPN, ABC and CBS, the league said in September. WNBA attendance was also up 16% compared to last year. The average attendance in 2023 was 6,615 fans, and the total attendance was at 1,587,488.

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