The new WNBA CBA bolsters the progressive league’s standing, removing a pall of uncertainty. The new agreement significantly boosts salaries and marketing expenditures while expanding maternity care. However, what are the biggest strengths of the breakthrough agreement? I’ll cover four significant positives from my fanboy perspective.
For years, players bemoaned gross inequality compared to the NBA and league indifference to players’ quality of life. The new CBA provides a substantial pay raise for stars, improves travel accommodations, and dramatically improves maternal benefits. Hell yeah! About darn time the ladies got some respect. And Twitter loved it!
The power of collectively bargaining is immense! https://t.co/95o4fhzhHq
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) January 14, 2020
I am so happy for ever single player in the @WNBA and ever young girl on her way! This is such a blessing! I’m just happy to witness it! Congrats to all who helped fight the good fight! #Groundbreaking https://t.co/7LGNGHoYg4
— Lisa Leslie (@LisaLeslie) January 14, 2020
Speaking out about women’s inequality is not “whining” or “feminazism.” Women’s sports are legitimately underserved, and the new CBA benefits are an essential step towards justice.
2. Player vs. owner balance
Unfortunately, with vast wealth disparities between WNBA franchises (only some have an affiliation with NBA counterparts), we can’t yet have the same free agency excitement as the NBA. However, this CBA importantly gives players more leverage. Teams can’t “core” (or franchise) their players as often now, and the WNBA moved free agency up a year. These benefits primarily aren’t about fan excitement. Instead, they ensure players maintain control of their careers and basketball destinies.
3. Health Care
While the nation continues to debate health care issues, the WNBA stopped waiting. The new agreement improves mental health benefits, a critical issue considering recent concerns by Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith. Also, note NBS is, of course, against illegal monopolies. However, women still have a monopoly on childbirth. Thankfully, players on maternity leave will now receive full salaries, comfortable workplaces, and family planning services. Considering only 144 women can play in the W, it’s proper the elite hoop warriors receive complete, holistic health treatment.
4. They do care!
On a more general note: a widespread frustration I’ve had is generally laziness by the front office. The league hasn’t cared about marketing, and travel was so cumbersome the Aces had to forfeit a game. Attention to detail seems greatly improved with the new deal. The W will now spend $1.6 million minimum on marketing and made significant concessions on flight and hotel accommodations. The biggest mistake fans and players can make is to shout, “hooray!” and stop fighting for greater equality. However, there’s no doubt from any WNBA follower the 2020 CBA is a vital eurostep towards women’s sports rights. So book the hotel and call Ticketmaster: the WNBA returns with a pleasing renewed emphasis on player strength and feminine might.