The media is at it again.
Their obsession with making everything about their desire to promote progressive political policies often leads to absurdist conclusions, and the Los Angeles Times is one of the more frequent offenders.
Just a few days after CNN also fell into the trap of inaccurately trying to tie in an arrest in Russia with a lack of equal pay for WNBA players, the LA Times did the exact same thing.
The story describes WNBA player Katie Lou Samuelsen recently wearing the “perfect shoes,” which had “Pay women athletes” printed in white against a black background:
Griner’s arrest has, according to the Times, “become a symbol of the pay-equity issue plaguing the WNBA,” where women’s basketball players travel overseas to earn more money.
Naturally, they also praise the WNBA’s political advocacy as part of the justification for them to earn higher salaries:
“Off the court, unapologetic advocacy from players for Breonna Taylor, Black Lives Matter and voting rights bolstered the WNBA’s image as a leader in social justice.”
While the players quoted don’t expect to be paid at the same rates as NBA players, it’s buried many paragraphs down that the league revenue is around $60 million per year compared to $7.4 billion for the NBA.
As always, reality gets in the way of progressive agendas.
There’s simply just not that much national interest in the WNBA.
Average attendance at WNBA games has been plummeting over time, even when accounting for pandemic restrictions in 2020 and 2021:
Ratings have improved in recent years compared to previous lows, but are nowhere near other sports like the NBA, MLB, or NFL.
While Griner’s situation is extremely unfortunate and her recent prison sentence is patently absurd, this is how capitalism works.
The vast majority of female athletes don’t have the same promotional possibilities as famous male athletes, nor do they share the name recognition.
International teams are willing to pay more for Griner because of the novelty and relative fame compared to local women. It’s the same phenomenon as leagues like MLS paying more for aging European soccer stars.
But to the progressives at the LA Times, every single story is an option to inject their political agendas.