Warriors' Draymond Green: Women Athletes Need to Take Action on Pay Inequality

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2021

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green against the Utah Jazz during an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Sunday, March 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green elaborated on his thoughts on how female athletes can address the sizable pay gap between themselves and their male counterparts. 

Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Green said women are "not laying out steps that they can take to change that," per NBC Sports' Monte Poole:

"It's coming off as a complaint, because the people who can change it are just going to continue to say: 'Well, the revenue isn't there. If you don't bring in the revenue, we can't up your pay.' They're going to keep using that, but the reality is: As true as that is, it's an excuse. Everyone says: 'We support women. We support women empowerment. We support women in the workplace. We do this for women. We do X for women. Blah, blah, blah.'

"Everyone uses it to their advantage, and yet, these women are not using these people that are saying these very things to their advantage."

The three-time All-Star previously waded into the topic through a series of tweets that largely echo what he said Wednesday:

Draymond Green @Money23Green

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about the pay gap between women and men. Especially in sports. It’s not even close. But let’s stop allowing y’all complaints to fall on deaf ears due to numbers. As long as y’all make the argument about pay, while the revenue stays the same...

Draymond Green @Money23Green

They will continue to point at the revenue not being high enough to cover bigger salaries. While that is true in damn near every business, how do we take that card out of their pockets? That’s the key to changing the pay. There’s no argument for lack of revenue, unless...

Draymond Green @Money23Green

You make those that say they stand for women actually stand up. The NBA wasn’t always the global game that it is today. It wasn’t always driving as much revenue as it does today. But there were people behind it, building the platform, and more importantly telling INDIVIDUAL...

Draymond Green @Money23Green

stories and building up the interest in the players. That’s how the game took off. Who’s building up y’all platform? Who’s telling the individual stories of how great y’all are? Building the interest and transforming women’s basketball into a global game?

Draymond Green @Money23Green

Break the mold and change the game! Most importantly, change the BUSINESS. Call on these companies for support, after all they are using y’all to push WOMEN EMPOWERMENT , but not helping y’all. They’re simply saving face.

The disparity in wages for, investment in and treatment of male and female athletes has been a topic of conversation for years. The discussion has was amplified again after Stanford sports performance coach Ali Kershner shared an image and Oregon star Sedona Prince shared a video contrasting the weight rooms for the men's and women's basketball tournaments. NBC Sports' Alex Azzi reported the disparities between the two tournaments extended well beyond the weight equipment.

As many female athletes noted in response to Green, the idea they aren't attempting to grow women's sports and their coverage couldn't be further from the truth (warning: some tweets contain profanity):

Megan Rapinoe @mPinoe

No one tells this story because they 👏🏼 don’t 👏🏼 fucking 👏🏼 want to. They don’t want to because it would shift the scales of power.

Lexie Brown @lexiekiah_4

Is someone gonna tell Draymond how loud and wrong he is?

Chiney Ogwumike @chiney

love this dialogue so imma hop in🤍✊🏿. stories are being told but until there is equity in the room where decisions are made... it will not be a priority. the only thing right now shifting the paradigm is solidarity amongst women, we need men & allies to keep that same energy. https://t.co/CzcVwXhjCZ

napheesa collier @PHEEsespieces

We appreciate u jumping in on the convo @Money23Green The nba & its players r the only ones sitting at these tables from a position of power. So if we really want to hold companies feet to the fire, y’all r the only ones with the leverage to really put these changes in motion https://t.co/z0x437xJGy

Devereaux Peters, who was a star at Notre Dame before playing in the WNBA, also recounted in a series of tweets how asking for change is a two-way street:

"Storytime: I spoke with one of y'all favorite athletes media companies. He was looking 'specifically' for female creators to tell stories on women athletes. He fully understood the power behind women's sports right now and wanted to get involved....Based on my conversations with his contact our goals and visions were perfectly aligned. The contact was extremely excited to pitch me to him because of it. Then he went ghost. I reached out for weeks and finally out of sheer embarrassment he responded....He told me he hadn't reached out because he was ashamed and felt so bad. He pitched me. Conceptually we fit great but your boy didn't want to work with me because "he wants to focus on women's athletes but doesn't want to be involved with the WNBA at all". That was an exact quote. was devastated. It took a lot for me to push past that call. It's going to take a lot more than US fighting for US. I'm pretty sure most of you know that. But let's never negate the many women that have been grinding day in and day out to make this a reality for womens athletes."

ESPN's Maria Taylor warned against placing the burden of creating change solely on the group that is being treated inequitably:

Maria Taylor @MariaTaylor

Let’s be careful not to place the responsibility to fix the problem of a patriarchal society’s apathetic view of women in sports on WOMEN. Just like we shouldn’t charge POC with fixing the issues associated racism. But certainly appreciate you watching and searching for solutions https://t.co/ZHGaFc7NSj

The University of Minnesota's Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport examined the issue in December 2013 and found that women's sports received four percent of general sports coverage despite women accounting for 40 percent of the athlete population.

Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, Simone Manuel and Sue Bird took matters into their own hands earlier this month to launch TOGETHXR, a brand that will focus on women's sports and culture.