Caitlin Clark does not deserve more money, according to Joe Biden

An astonishing event occurred this week.

A massive 2.45 million viewers tuned in to the WNBA draft on Monday, witnessing University of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, known for her shooting skills, being selected as the first overall pick by the Indiana Fever. Clark, dressed in Prada from head to toe, became the first athlete the brand has ever dressed for a basketball draft.

Compared to last year’s audience of 500,000, this marked an 80% increase in viewership.

The viewers appeared shocked to discover the reality behind WNBA salaries, particularly for rookies like Clark. Despite her remarkable skills, impressive range, and marketability, Clark’s four-year contract will only amount to $338,056, translating to $76,535 annually.

A record 2.45 million viewers watched Caitlin Clark become the first overall pick in the WNBA draft. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con
Clark made a fashion statement by wearing Prada at the draft, a first in basketball draft history for an athlete. Getty Images

On the other hand, Victor Wembanyama, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft, is set to earn $55 million over the same contract duration.

The backlash over the pay gap erupted on social media, morning shows, and even at the White House.

“For somebody who is now the face of women’s basketball, it seemed kind of ridiculous,” expressed Hoda Kotb on the “Today” show, describing it as “disturbing” and “like picking at an old scab for many women.”

President Biden emphasized the need for fair pay for women athletes in his tweets. Joe Biden/ X

Jenna Bush Hager, Kotb’s co-host, commented on the significant pay gap, calling it “so jarring” and stressing the importance of equal pay.

President Joe Biden also expressed his support for equal pay in sports for women athletes, underlining the necessity to provide them with the same opportunities and compensation as men.

Caitlin Clark’s rookie contract has sparked discussions about the gender pay gap in sports. Getty Images

It’s crucial to redefine what is fair. Instead of solely blaming the pay gap on patriarchy or portraying women as always being at a disadvantage, we should examine how revenue is generated in sports through various channels like TV deals and ticket sales.

WNBA star Brittney Griner playing for UMKC Ekaterinburg in Russia, where she received more substantial compensation. Getty Images

The WNBA operates as a business with a challenging financial bottom line rather than a charity focused on gender equality.

According to Front Office Sports, the WNBA earns around $60 million per season from TV contracts, significantly less compared to the NBA’s $2.7 billion annual revenue.

The WNBA, established in 1996, has traditionally faced financial constraints, leading to differences in player compensation structures between men’s and women’s leagues.

Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark addresses the media at her introductory conference. AP

The entry of promising talents like Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardosa, and Cameron Brink signifies a significant milestone for the league.

Thanks to NIL opportunities, athletes like Clark can leverage their popularity, secure endorsements, and set the stage for lucrative deals after college. Clark is reportedly on the verge of signing a seven-figure sneaker deal and has an NIL valuation of $3.4 million, according to On3.

Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson shared a post advocating for increased compensation for WNBA players, emphasizing the need for action over mere prayers.

Caitlin Clark has already secured advertising deals with companies like State Farm. State Farm

If fans truly want to support WNBA players, they need to invest in attending games, watching matches on TV, purchasing merchandise, and actively engaging with the league, enabling teams to generate substantial revenue to reward athletes appropriately.

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