Biden and 'fair share' – political rhetoric doesn't match reality

Biden and 'fair share' – political rhetoric doesn't match reality

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark stands on the court during the championship game against South Carolina in the women's 2024 NCAA Tournament. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Biden and 'fair share' – political rhetoric doesn't match reality

President Joe Biden says women in professional sports should be paid the same as their male counterparts. But that's just not how it works in the real world, as explained by a former collegiate athlete.

Biden's push is in response to University of Iowa star Caitlin Clark's contract with the WNBA's Indiana Fever. Clark, who was the top pick in this year's WNBA draft on Monday, will earn $338,056 over the next four years. By comparison, Victor Wembanyama – the NBA's top pick in 2023 – signed a $55 million deal.

In what appears to be a response to public criticism over the difference, Biden posted this on social media:

"Women in sports continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all. 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 on X)

Paula Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer turned ambassador for Independent Women's Forum (IWF), tells AFN an individual can only be paid their "fair share" based on what the profits are. Scanlan points out a simple fact: women's sports have fewer viewers than men's sports.

Scanlan, Paula (IWF ambassador) Scanlan

"I've never watched a WNBA game, I don't think anyone in my family has ever watched a WNBA game – and I'm pretty sure if you asked any American on the street if they watched the WNBA, their answer will probably be no," says Scanlan. "Is this a diss to Caitlin Clark as a female athlete? Of course not. It's just reality."

Citing information from Front Office Sports, New York Post reports the WNBA currently makes $60 million a season from television contracts. The NBA makes around $3 billion annually from television contracts.

"Men are better athletically in general, and better athletes are more interesting to watch," Scanlan continues. "I do think Caitlin Clark joining the WNBA will bring more viewership, which will then in turn get them to be paid more eventually. But unfortunately, you can't be paid for what's not there – and if there are not more viewers … there's not going to be room for the salaries to be more."

Scanlan, who collaborates with other female athletes such as Riley Gaines, says it would be better to "get men out of women's sports so more women can actually be paid to play and receive prize money."