President Joe Biden called out the vast and longstanding pay gap between men and women in sports after current WNBA salaries drew widespread criticism on social media this week.

On Tuesday, Biden wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that “women in sports continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all.”

“But right now we’re seeing that even if you’re the best, women are not paid their fair share,” he wrote. “It’s time that we give our daughters the same opportunities as our sons and ensure women are paid what they deserve.”

The president’s message was posted the day after Spotrac, a sports financial information site, published a now-viral graphic featuring the rookie contract for Caitlin Clark, who was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA draft on Monday night by the Indiana Fever.

The graphic showed that Clark, the NCAA Division 1 all-time leading scorer, is set to receive less than $80,000 for her rookie year.

People on X were outraged over the reality of WNBA salaries.

In 2024, WNBA rookies in the Nos. 1-4 draft picks make $76,535 their first year, $78,066 their second year and $85,873 their third year, with a fourth-year option of $97,582, according to the WNBA and the players union’s collective bargaining agreement.

In contrast, the NBA rookie scale for the 2023 NBA first round draft pick was reported to start at roughly $10.13 million — with a potential 20% salary increase — according to multiple reports.

From left to right, Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark and Cameron Brink are seen on April 15 in New York.
From left to right, Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark and Cameron Brink are seen on April 15 in New York.

While Clark and other WNBA rookies will receive compensation via endorsement deals, fans of women’s sports called out the appalling pay disparity between men’s and women’s pro basketball this week.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson wrote on X on Monday that “these ladies deserve so much more… Praying for the day!”

On Tuesday, sports journalist Jemele Hill pushed back on those who have compared the WNBA’s profitability to the NBA’s as an argument against the fight for better pay in women’s pro basketball.

“For years, WNBA players have fought for more money. And when they were outspoken, so many of y’all told them to shut up or reminded them how they had no value,” Hill wrote on X. “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.”

During an appearance on “The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle” on Tuesday, Hill also pointed out that WNBA players aren’t necessarily fighting to get the same salaries as their male counterparts, but rather “fighting to get more of the revenue actually being brought into the WNBA.”

WNBA players have long brought attention to the lack of investment in players and the pay gap between the NBA and WNBA.

In 2018, Skylar Diggins-Smith, who currently plays for the Seattle Storm, called on men to join women in the fight for better pay.

“As athletes, we have to fight. As women, we have to fight. And we need more people at our table to fight with us,” she told Wealthsimple Magazine. “There need to be more women and more people of color hired so we can curate our own sports stories. And we need men speaking out about these things.”

In addition to Clark, other 2024 WNBA draft picks, such as Cameron Brink, Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese, have ascended to stardom during their college basketball careers.

This year’s women’s NCAA championship beat the men’s in viewership for the first time ever. Monday night’s WNBA draft shattered its viewership record with an average of 2.45 million viewers, ESPN reported.


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