Brittney Griner joins WNBA players questioning G League 'Select Contracts'

Yahoo Sports Contributor
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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/teams/pho" data-ylk="slk:Phoenix Mercury">Phoenix Mercury</a>’s <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/players/5057/" data-ylk="slk:Brittney Griner">Brittney Griner</a> joined WNBA players in speaking out about the new G League contracts. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner joined WNBA players in speaking out about the new G League contracts. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Brittney Griner needed far more than 280 characters to put her own note on the G League’s announcement it would offer “Select Contracts” worth $125,000 a year to elite 18 year olds.

The Phoenix Mercury center took to Instagram on Friday to voice her displeasure, jumping right out with a simple, but NSFW, opening line.

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“Must be f—ing nice coming out of college getting that,” she wrote. 

Griner is far from the first in the past 24 hours to point out that the contract is more than the $115,500 max contract a WNBA player receives. And that’s typically after four years of college, which for women is a necessity for their post-pro athlete careers.

It’s also the maximum. Meaning not guaranteed. So while the greats like Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird get that, most don’t. The median salary is $71,635, according to Forbes, and even reigning MVP Breanna Stewart doesn’t hit that at approximately $57,000 last year.

A’ja Wilson, reigning rookie of the year, was one of the first to tweet about it Thursday.

And in the hours since, WNBA players have asked the hard-hitting question.

Seattle Storm and Team USA World Cup champion Jewell B Loyd:

Then there’s four-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion Tamika Catchings upping the ante. She’s currently the director of player programs and franchise development for Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

And Alexis Jones, guard for the Minnesota Lynx, an oft-ignored dynasty:

The WNBA season ended in mid-August this year to get the Finals in before the FIBA World Cup, which Team USA won. The members of the Seattle Storm had one day between their championship victory and a trip to Spain. Many of the players in the league are now in other countries playing in leagues that pay in the millions, a point Griner made sure to emphasize. She’s in Russia with UMMC Ekaterinburg.

“We def didn’t see any money like that til we went overseas. AWAY FROM OUR FAMILIES AND LOVED ONES AND HAVE TO PLAY YEAR ROUND,” Griner wrote.

That players are tweeting about the G League announcement is notable given the WNBA players can collectively bargain again in 2019. The issue of pay has come up before with players asking for a larger percentage of the revenue that’s more in line with the NBA’s share of its revenue — meaning WNBA players want equality percentage wise, not numbers wise.

Griner alluded to that as well in her longer comments:

“Something has to give before ppl just say the hell with playing during the summer, and just rest our bodies and play overseas only were [sic] we can make a living for ourselves.”

On a lighter note, wouldn’t it be great if we could write on our electricity bill “for the love of the game” and not have it shut off in the throes of winter?

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