Caitlin Clark's Disappointing WNBA Salary Causes A Big Stir

Caitlin Clark was riding an all-time high on April 15 as she was selected as the No. 1 pick by the Indiana Fever in the 2024 WNBA draft. The following day, Clark took to Instagram to relish the achievement. "Dreams to reality," she penned in the celebratory post. "INDY LETS GET IT‼️"

Alas, all of the celebrations and fanfare nearly ground to a complete halt when her WNBA salary was revealed. As stated in the WNBA's collective bargaining agreement, Clark is set to earn a total of $338,056... over the course of her four-year contract. Yep, that's right. Clark will earn $76,535 for the 2024 year, $78,066 in 2025, $85,873 in 2026, and, in 2027, will round out her fourth and final year at $97,582. So much for all of those expensive head-turning outfits Clark is known for wearing. For reference, USA Today reported that the average United States 2024 salary rings in at $59,540. So, while Clark is well above the national average, her salary pales in comparison to that of her NBA counterparts. According to Spotrac, Victor Wembanyama, the NBA's No. 1 draft pick in 2023, inked a four-year deal for more than $55 million. (Alexa, play the "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others" song.) As one can imagine, following the revelation, Clark's WNBA salary is causing a big stir and has many weighing in from all sides. 

Caitlin Clark's salary has ruffled many feathers

Following the news of Caitlin Clark's meager WNBA salary, many fans hopped on social media to discuss. "Just popping on to say that Caitlin Clark's salary is criminal and hopefully she will be making 10x that in endorsements because she deserves so much more," one X user wrote. Meanwhile, another quipped, "The top prize/award for Survivor and The Amazing Race has never budged below 1 million. I would like to know how much it costs to run an ad spot."

Even some high-profile celebrities and athletes joined in on the discourse. Award-winning actor Jamie Lee Curtis popped on Instagram and referred to Clark's salary — or, in this case, lack thereof — as "outrageous." NFL star Russell Wilson also had his fair share of words about Clark's salary slight. "These ladies deserve so much more... Praying for the day," he tweeted

The POTUS himself, President Joe Biden, also seemed to weigh in. "Women in sports continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all," he began in a tweet. "But right now we're seeing that even if you're the best, women are not paid their fair share. It's time that we give our daughters the same opportunities as our sons and ensure women are paid what they deserve," he declared.

Jemele Hill is not here for the WNBA vs. NBA comparison game

Still, not everyone is on board with the discourse surrounding Caitlin Clark's WNBA salary — namely when it comes to the NBA vs. WNBA comparison game. "You have to throw the NBA comparison out the window," journalist and author Jemele Hill told "The 11th Hour" host Stephanie Ruhle. "The NBA had a 50-year headstart ... the WNBA is 27 years in," she continued. According to Hill, the WNBA players are not fighting for pay equity compared to that of the NBA players. Instead, "they are fighting to get more of the revenue action being brought into the WNBA." She added, "They just want — now that the league is in a healthier place — they want to make more money. It's as simple as that."

Speaking of revenue action, the WNBA's commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, told a gaggle of reporters on April 15 that she was "pretty confident" that the league will increase to 16 teams by 2028. But that's not all. She also told CNBC that she hoped to "at least double" their media rights. "Women's sports rights fees have been undervalued for too long, so we have this enormous opportunity at a time when ... the media landscape is changing so much," she explained. Maybe then Clark will get an opportunity to renegotiate her contract??? TBD, we suppose.