Mother shares her sons’ shocking reactions to Caitlin Clark’s ‘rip-off’ WNBA salary

A mother has captured her sons’ surprised reactions to Caitlin Clark’s rookie contract with the WNBA, after they had guessed far higher than her actual four-year salary.

Following outrage over the 22-year-old women’s basketball player’s $338,056 four-year contract with the Indiana Fever, Utah-based mom Darcee took to TikTok to highlight the difficulties that professional female athletes face when it comes to equal pay. As she sat in the car with her two boys, her older son holding a basketball in his lap, the Shelete founder asked her sons to guess how much Clark is expected to earn during her first season in the WNBA.

“Caitlin Clark just got drafted today, number one pick in the WBNA. What do you think her four-year salary is gonna be?” Darcee filmed herself asking her sons. Her older son - who was seen sitting in the front seat - believed that Clark signed a four-year contract worth $2m, while her younger son in the back of the car guessed that Clark’s contract was worth $38m.

“You ready to hear what it really is?” she asked. “Over four years, her contract is going to be about $350,000.”

Darcee’s eldest son then opened his mouth wide in shock, as her younger son exclaimed: “That’s so cheap!”

“It’s not even $100,000 per year,” her older son pointed out. “That’s a rip-off!”

Darce then candidly told her children: “Welcome to women in sports.”

The eldest boy also acknowledged that even “really bad” male basketball players “get paid, like, $3m” in the NBA.

“Things need to change, huh?” Darce asked, to which her sons replied: “Yeah!”

In her caption, Darcee explained that she was watching the 2024 WNBA draft on Monday 15 April - where the University of Iowa Hawkeyes player was selected first pick - when she “thought it would be funny to ask [her] boys how much they thought Caitlin Clark’s contract was going to be over the next four years”.

“Needless to say they were shocked with the answer,” the mom wrote, adding: “I hope the WNBA can capitalise on the eyes that are on the women’s game right now. Time to get the best marketing team out there. Maybe one day more people will fill the stands and better TV deals will get these girls better salaries. The past few years have shown us that people will watch and want to follow the story lines so the WNBA needs to keep putting that out there.”

Since her video was posted on Tuesday 16 April, Darcee’s video has received more than 767,000 views. In the comments section, fellow women applauded the mom for teaching her sons about the pay disparity in women’s sports compared to men’s sports.

“Excellent teaching moment,” one person wrote, while another TikTok user said: “Love this, mama!! You’re doing great.”

“You’re creating the change! Thank you!” a third person chimed in.

Others shared that they had a similar reaction after learning about Clark’s $338,056 four-year contact with the Fever. According to Spotrac - a website that tracks sports contracts - she is expected to earn $76,535 in her rookie season this summer, and is projected to earn an annual salary of $97,582 by the end of her four-year contract.

“I literally had the same conversation with my two boys yesterday too. They were shocked and confused as well,” one parent shared.

“Had the same reaction,” another person commented.

“I am shocked!!! What!!!!” said someone else.

Celebrities and famous figures equally joined in outrage over Clark’s average salary with the WNBA. On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden called for female athletes to be “paid what they deserve” in a post shared to X, formerly Twitter.

“Women in sports continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all,” he said. “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,” Biden added.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson called for Clark and her fellow WNBA players to make higher salaries, as he responded on X: “These ladies deserve so much more… Praying for the day.”

Meanwhile, Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis shared a graphic of Clark’s salary to her Instagram account with the caption: “This is OUTRAGEOUS!”

During Tuesday’s broadcast of the Today show, co-host Hoda Kotb described Clark’s first-year salary as “ridiculous” compared to male basketball players in the NBA. “When I saw the number, $76,000 in the first year and $78,000 in the second year, and $85,000 in the third year, for somebody who is now the face of women’s basketball, it seemed kind of ridiculous,” Kotb said. “A guy who is in the NBA, first year, they can get $10m.”

In fact, Victor Wembanyama – the first pick in last year’s NBA draft – signed a four-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs worth $55m, per Spotrac. He earned more than $12m in his first season alone.

Much of the public outcry over Clark’s salary is due to the fact that she’s been widely credited with helping increase viewership for NCAA women’s basketball. This year’s final championship game between Iowa and South Carolina attracted 24m viewers, topping the men’s D1 final audience by millions and attracting the most viewers of any college basketball game since 2019. Clark also holds the NCAA’s all-time scoring and assist records for both men and women.