WNBA Players Opt Out of CBA; Current Agreement to End After 2019 Season

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2018

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 29: Close up view of the WNBA logo before the game between the San Antonio Stars and the Dallas Wings during the WNBA Preseason on April 29, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
Mark Sobhani/Getty Images

The WNBA players union will opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement with the league, rendering it void following the 2019 season, according to Rachel Galligan of Hero Sports.

The CBA went into effect in 2014 and was set to run through 2021, but both the union and the league had the right to end the agreement two years early, per Mechelle Voepel of ESPNW.com.

Per ESPN Women's Hoops, WNBA acting president Mark Tatum released a statement regarding the CBA status: "The league and its teams are committed to an open and good-faith negotiation that is rooted in the financial realities of our business. We are getting to work immediately and are confident such a process can lead to a fair deal for all involved."

Los Angeles Sparks star and Women's National Basketball Players Association President Nneka Ogwumike discussed the decision to opt out in an article for the Players' Tribune on Thursday:

"To me, opting out means not just believing in ourselves, but going one step further: betting on ourselves. It means being a group of empowered women, in the year 2018, not just feeling fed up with the status quo, but going one step further: rejecting the status quo. And it means taking a stand, not just for the greatest women's basketball players of today, but going one step further: taking a stand for the greatest women's basketball players of tomorrow."

Ogwumike added that the players are hoping to have a more open line of communication regarding financial matters in the league and a better understanding of what they mean for everyone involved:

"In opting out of this CBA, our primary objective is full transparency. We just want information about where the league is as a business, so that we can come together and make sound decisions for the future of the game.

"You probably don't know this, but as players, we never get to see the numbers. We don't know how the league is doing. As the kids say nowadays, we just want to see the receipts.

"This is not an adversarial thing. Believe me, this is incredibly difficult on a human level. We have to sit across the negotiating table from the same people that we work with day-in, day-out, and who we know want this game to be great, too. We just want full transparency so we can figure out how to make common-sense changes that will help our players' quality of life."

Ogwumike also made it clear that opting out is "not purely about salaries" and "not all about the money."

The 2016 WNBA MVP emphasized: "We just want what we're worth. We just want what's right. We just want to leave this game a little better than we found it for the next generation."

In a B/R Mag article written by Mirin Fader on Monday, it was noted that the WNBA is expected to make "less than 1 percent" of the $9 billion in revenue the NBA is expected to generate this year.

Knowing that, WNBA players aren't asking for astronomical salaries, but they do want a higher share of the revenue since they get 22 percent, while NBA players get about 50 percent.

Fader also noted that WNBA players want more sponsorship and increased media coverage.

The 2018 WNBA season ended in September, and the final season under the current CBA is scheduled to begin in May.

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