Sports

WNBA fines Liberty for chartering team flight


Oh, to be a professional athlete is expected to be a flight instructor.

Oh, to be a professional athlete is expected to be a flight instructor.
Image: beautiful pictures

The WNBA is clearly trying to compete with the MLB in terms of how much they can hate their own players.

According to a report from Sports Illustrated earlier today, the owners of WNBA’s New York Liberty chartered a plane for their professional players instead of letting them fly commercials for the second half of the season. WNBA players have previously spoken out about the problems that come with commercial flights as professional athletes, from seat discomfort to flight cancellations to paying for lifts. out-of-pocket, as star Liz Cambage described in a much discussion tweet last month.

With COVID concerns adding to all of this, Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, owners of Liberty, decided to sign the bill to lease a plane for their team’s travel in 2021. , the union’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits charter flights because all owners may not be able to afford such a luxury.

In other words, the backlash from the league was outrageous.

According to SI, the WNBA threatened to either end the entire franchise or strip it of “every draft option they’ve ever seen.” While the final punishment didn’t go that far, the team was eventually fined half a million dollars – down from the original one million – and the league removed a Liberty executive from its executive committee. .

The fine is more than double the salary of any player in the WNBA. With an individual salary cap not quite as high as $230,000, WNBA players have long traveled abroad to compete in the off-season, where they can earn more than a million dollars for international professional teams. .

The Liberty players, including star forward Sabrina Ionescu, seem to have a great relationship with Tsais and greatly appreciate the efforts they have made to bring comfort and professionalism to the team. However, the WNBA is not content with the idea that professional athletes should be treated like professional athletes.

Sports Illustrated also reported that Tsais even presented a proposal to allow every WNBA team to fly charters for the next three years, which was voted down because “owners were worried that the players would get too used to it.” , so there will be no turning back.”

Back to incomplete treatment? Used to being treated fairly? Yeah, that sounds terrible.

To provide a look at the origins of some of the ownership rights, here’s another quote from the SI paper:

“A WNBA owner proudly declares the value of his WNBA team to be 0, according to multiple league sources, and therefore all he spends on his team is effectively contributing to the greater good. of women’s sports.”

Oh that’s great. The real charity work he’s doing there.

As the WNBA expands and attracts more and more viewers (49% viewership growth from 2020 to 2021), the league must be able to afford to take itself seriously – and by extension, consider the his membership was serious enough – to legitimize his position among American Professional Sports. The athletes have been outspoken about their opinions on league policies, including salary caps, and have never refused to back themselves – likely because they’re making most of the money through through non-WNBA projects.

The current CBA limits owners like Tsais who truly care about investing and growing their teams like financial assets while treating athletes like real professionals. This whole incident leaves a bad taste in the mouth for a tournament that has arguably done so much for women’s sport and has indeed come a long way in the past decade. To dismiss a health and safety issue like COVID, and threaten to shut down entire franchises in retaliation, is a strange game of power that makes it seem like league leaders don’t care. much to the success of the WNBA or its athletes.

During an appearance on ESPN’S NBA Today last week, Cambage speak“It’s hard when you have the best league in the world, but we’re not treated like the best athletes in the world.”





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