Devereaux Peters Enters Larger Conversation About WNBA Pay Gap
Devereaux Peters is a five-year veteran in the WNBA, so she’s a better basketball player than a statistically significant percentage of the world’s population.
That’s the point the 28-year-old conveyed during a series of tweets Monday as she shot down the idea of playing her male critics in one-on-one to prove a point:
Peters’ comments come after WNBA players drew attention to the massive pay gap between professional players in the men’s and women’s games.
LeBron James’ max contract with the Los Angeles Lakers prompted Las Vegas Aces rookie A’ja Wilson to speak up:
In the days since, critics hijacked the conversation in bad faith to chastise Wilson and others for supposedly demanding pay equal to James and other NBA stars.
However, WNBA players are instead calling attention to how much—or how little in this case—of the league’s revenue they receive compared to those in the NBA.
Forbes’ David Berri estimated in September that WNBA players collected 22.8 percent of the league’s basketball-related income (BRI) from the 2017 season. The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union ensures NBA players earn at least 49 percent of the league’s BRI.
“We’re not even talking about $200 million salaries or anything like that,” Dallas Wings guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News‘ Adam Grosbard. “It’s just off the revenue that we bring in. Getting that same percentage [as NBA players], and not even getting half of that is kind of appalling. It’s staggering.”
Berri later pointed to the fact Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi is making $115,233, based on High Post Hoops’ salary database. During the 1998-99 season, Adonis Jordan received $350,000 after playing 17 minutes for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement with players expires after the 2021 season. The players can opt-out following the 2019 season, though.
Based on how Diggins-Smith, Wilson and others are speaking about about the issue, the league can likely expect a fight about the players’ share of revenue in 2019.