Opinion

Senators Want To Know Why WNBA Players Make Less Money Than NBA Stars

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief

Sens. Jacky Rosen and Amy Klobuchar apparently don’t know anything about how sports work.

Rosen and Klobuchar, who is running for President, sent a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Thursday asking for a hearing on why female athletes are paid less than men.

This has been in the news a ton ever since the World Cup got underway, and that was storyline was prominently featured in the letter. I get it. I understand why we’re talking about it, even if the women aren’t actually underpaid. However, there’s a line of the letter referencing basketball that is simply laugh-out-loud funny.  (RELATED: Kevin Durant Will Sign With The Brooklyn Nets For $164 Million, Kyrie Irving Will Get $141 Million)

“Last year in the Women’s National Basketball Association, the maximum veteran player salary was $115,500, while the men in the National Basketball Association earned a minimum salary of $582,180,” the letter read.

Yes, that’s an actual sentence in a letter from two sitting members of the Senate. I wish was I was making this up, but I’m not.

We have actual elected officials who want to know why WNBA players aren’t getting the same kind of cash as LeBron James.

Here’s a really simple answer for all of you. The NBA’s TV deal is worth $24 billion dollars. $24 billion! That’s the kind of cash that is simply mind-boggling.

Now, the senators might assume the WNBA has a lucrative TV deal. There must be plenty of people just dying to watch a bunch of travels, jump balls and missed layups, right?

Wrong.

In 2013, the WNBA signed an extension with ESPN that paid out $12 million a year. There are bench players in the NBA making more money than the entire WNBA is in TV revenue.

Why? It’s shockingly simple. The NBA sells out arenas and is a global brand. That’s the reason why players are getting paid insane amounts of cash.

The WNBA just isn’t. I’m not knocking the women for choosing basketball as a career, but let’s not pretend like they’re out here producing the same kind of product or cash flow. They’re just not.

The reality of the situation the WNBA all-star team would get obliterated by any good high school boys team. You could put the women’s Olympic team on the court against any top-25 high school boys team in America, and they’d lose by 50. It would be insanely ugly.

Yet, senators are confused as to why they’re not paid like they’re in the NBA? Give me a break.

When the WNBA scores a TV deal worth $24 billion and sells out arenas all over the place, then we can talk about upping their salaries.

Until then, trying to compare them to the NBA is outrageous. If you’re not smart enough to understand why NBA players are paid the way they are and their female counterparts are paid less, then you have no business being in any position of leadership.