Biden joins in outrage over Caitlin Clark’s rookie WNBA salary: “Women are not paid their fair share”

US President Joe Biden has called for female athletes to be “paid what they deserve” amid ongoing outrage surrounding Caitlin Clark’s rookie contract with the WNBA.

This week, the 22-year-old women’s basketball star was selected first pick in the 2024 WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever. Clark is expected to sign a contract with the Fever worth $338,056 over four years, earning $76,535 in her rookie season this summer.

As sports fans learned of Clark’s contract with the WNBA, many people were quick to point out how drastically low her first-year salary was compared to her male counterparts in the NBA. President Biden has now weighed in on the debate over pay disparity in sports.

“Women in sports continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all,” he began his post on X, formerly Twitter. “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.

President Biden isn’t the only notable figure to share their reaction to Clark’s $76,535 salary. 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 $10 million.”

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.

Some fans pointed out that Clark is likely to make an even bigger profit than her WNBA salary simply from her various endorsement deals. In October 2022, Clark inked a major deal with footwear brand Nike, as well as her sponsorships with State Farm, Gatorade, Buick, H&R Block and Bose. From brand deals alone, Clark is estimated to make more than $3m per year, according to her NIL valuation.

Despite Clark’s average salary with the WNBA, she’s still been credited with helping increase viewership for NCAA women’s basketball. This year’s final championship game between Clark’s University of Iowa Hawkeyes 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.