The working situations of WNBA athletes have come underneath scrutiny once more after Los Angeles Sparks gamers have been pressured to sleep at an airport when their flight was cancelled.
The Sparks had overwhelmed the Washington Mystics on Sunday night time however their flight again to LA was cancelled at 1am after which rescheduled for 9am.
“We’re roaming the airport. It’s the primary time in my 11 seasons that I’ve ever needed to sleep within the airport,” Sparks participant Nneka Ogwumike, who can be the WNBA Gamers Affiliation president, stated in a video she posted to Twitter. “However primarily based on journey … It was solely a matter of time. So, half of us are sleeping within the airport. Half of us are at a resort. There weren’t sufficient rooms.”
Sparks assistant coach Latricia Trammell tweeted a photograph of airport lounge seats together with the caption: “Our beds tonight!”. Trammell additionally included the hashtag “constitution”, a reference to the truth that WNBA groups are required to take business flights (NBA and high faculty groups often fly on personal jets). The WNBA fined New York Liberty final 12 months after the staff chartered personal jets for some video games, because it thought of it an unfair benefit over different franchises with smaller budgets. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated in March that chartering flights would value round $20m a 12 months and “jeopardize the monetary well being of the league”, which lacks the large broadcasting offers that assist assist the NBA.
Journey issues are nothing new to WNBA gamers. The Chicago Sky additionally needed to sleep in an airport earlier this season, whereas Olympic champion Kelsey Plum stated flight delays contributed to her staff, the Las Vegas Aces, shedding to the Mystics in Could. In the identical month, the Connecticut Solar cancelled a practice session after their flight was delayed into the early hours of the next morning. In the meantime, some gamers argued that flying business has put their well being and careers at risk in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Sparks’ journey issues come days after a Russian court docket sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to 9 years in jail on medication fees. The Olympic champion’s supporters say she was solely enjoying in Russia, the place she reportedly earned $1.5m a 12 months, as a result of the WNBA’s most wage is $222,000.