Joe Biden Advocates for Fair Sports Pay Amid Outcry Over Caitlin Clark's Salary

Growing Calls for Gender Pay Equity in Professional Sports.

by Nouman Rasool
Joe Biden Advocates for Fair Sports Pay Amid Outcry Over Caitlin Clark's Salary
© Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The stark pay disparity between male and female athletes in professional sports has once again sparked public debate, following a graphic detailing the salary of WNBA's No. 1 draft pick, Caitlin Clark. The uproar intensified after President Joe Biden highlighted the inequities in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

On Tuesday, Biden emphasized the remarkable achievements of women in sports, noting their inspirational role, yet he underscored a troubling reality: "Even if you're the best, women are not paid their fair share. It’s time we give our daughters the same opportunities as our sons and ensure women are paid what they deserve." This discussion was ignited by a graphic from Spotrac, a sports financial information site, which went viral after showing the rookie contract of Caitlin Clark, recently drafted by the Indiana Fever.

Clark, celebrated as the NCAA Division 1 all-time leading scorer, is slated to earn under $80,000 in her first professional year, starkly contrasting with the salaries in men's sports.

Stark Salary Disparities

Social media erupted with discussions over this pay gap after the graphic's release.

The 2024 salary scale for WNBA rookies ranges from $76,535 in their first year to potentially $97,582 by the fourth year. In stark contrast, NBA rookies can earn starting salaries of about $10.13 million with potential increases, highlighting a significant disparity in earnings potential between the leagues.

The outcry is not isolated to social media. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson, and sports journalist Jemele Hill, voiced strong support for addressing these wage disparities. Hill, in particular, criticized comparisons between WNBA and NBA profitability as a flawed argument against equitable pay.

"The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle" that the WNBA players are "fighting for respect" and "a share in the revenues—not necessarily trying to achieve parity with what the men in the NBA make. WNBA athletes like Skylar Diggins-Smith have long advocated for better investment in women's sports and equal pay. Diggins-Smith has called for broader support, particularly from men and more diverse voices in sports journalism.

Joe Biden