Phoenix Mercury superstar and WNBA legend Diana Taurasi is taking aim at how the WNBA is marketing their game, and their players, as well as how players are getting paid, and how the league treats it’s players.
Basically, Taurasi isn’t happy with how the WNBA operates as a whole, and isn’t shy about sharing her opinion.
“It’s just so sad to me. You know, 15 years in, it’s just such a sad thing to talk about” Taurasi said when discussing the pay disparity in the league, according to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss.
“We had to go to a communist country to get paid like capitalists, which is so backward to everything that was in the history books in sixth grade. And even then, even within our pay scale, it doesn’t make sense. On a team, you could have seven players making the same amount of money. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
“Something’s missing. I don’t know. I don’t know what the solution is. But what’s going on now, it’s not working. And I use an example of when B.G. [Brittney Griner] was a rookie, she was walking in this arena, and the janitor was making more money than her. But you want Brittney Griner to be this superstar and carry the league into where? The kid’s got to go to Russia [in the offseason] for the next 10 years to get paid what she deserves.
And it’s just shocking to me, as we have the NBA as the best model ever. But the WNBA always finds a way to mess it up. I just don’t get it. I’m so disillusioned with it all … not because of what I had to go through, but for the younger kids. When you’re in it, when you’re playing and you’re young, you don’t worry about these things. You’re just so worried about proving yourself and getting to the playoffs, being a better basketball player.
But when you get older, like Sue [Bird] and I, we start thinking about these things, like it’s been 15 years. I think Sue said it best. In the last 11 years, I think we’ve had a 1.5% increase in our pay salary. I mean, who doesn’t leave that job? It’s like [Lionel] Messi. You play for Barcelona, and then you go back to Argentina and play in a YMCA league because you love the game. And you know what? We come back every single summer because we love the game. It’s pathetic.”
Taurasi says that the WNBA simply doesn’t care that players have to go overseas to play and make money, and noted that a contentious CBA negotiation is likely to take place because of these, and many other, issues.
Of those other issues, Taurasi isn’t thrilled with how the WNBA has marketed the game, or it’s superstars.
“Once again, I just don’t understand how the NBA has made rock stars out of their best players … if you think about what they’ve been able to do marketing-wise. And obviously it started with Magic and Larry and Isiah, and then obviously Jordan took it to the next level. And then you had Kobe, Shaq, and now you have LeBron, Harden, Steph, Durant.
They’ve made rock stars out of these players. And we just have not been able to capitalize on any of that. Not even a little bit. Not even one bit. Like, are you kidding me with some of the stuff that they do marketing and promoting-wise? It’s almost mind-boggling.”
England’s Emma Raducanu Advances At Wimbledon
England’s Emma Raducanu won in straight sets in her first-round singles match against Alison Van Uytvanck in 101 minutes, winning 6-4, 6-4 in what was her first match on Centre Court to advance at Wimbledon.
“To play on Centre Court and get a win first time, it’s amazing,” Raducanu said following the match, according to ESPN’s Tom Hamilton. “Now every time I go back, I’m just going to have a great first experience.”
“I definitely feel a really good energy,” Raducanu said, who is the reigning US Open champion and ranked No. 11. “Like how can you not playing here? Just walking around, you really feel the positivity. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot in the last year.
“But it hasn’t necessarily all been terrible. I won my first round at every Slam. As a 19-year-old, I pretty much just took my gap year and, like, starting again now.
“If the last year hadn’t have happened, then I think that any 19-year-old walking onto Centre Court would be a positive experience for you. And it was. And I definitely embodied that today.”
Raducanu was wearing an item of clothing from tennis superstar Rafael Nadal’s clothing brand, someone she says she draws inspiration from as he has battled injuries to claim victory at the Australian Open and the French Open this year.
“I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy,” Raducanu said. “That’s what I’m bringing in. In terms of energy-wise, I think that I have had a tough year, like it’s no secret. It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that.
“I definitely am very happy to be here. All the lessons I’ve taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”
Matthew Wolff Leaves PGA Tour for LIV Golf
LIV Golf has taken more talent from the PGA Tour as Matthew Wolff will will play in this week’s LIV Golf tournament at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, the first to take place in the United States, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.
Wolff, 23, had an incredible rise to the start of his PGA Tour career but has been struggling over the past few months to regain his exciting form. Wolff tied for 40th in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, on Sunday.
Wolff turned pro in June 2019 and won less than a month later, tied for fourth at the 2020 PGA Championship, his first start in a major, and was second at the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and then things took a turn has he struggled over the majority of the past two seasons.
Wolff took two months off from golf in 2021 to focus on his mental health. Wolff returned to play in the U.S Open and ended up tying for 15th place. Wolff has missed the cut in seven of his past 12 starts this season and hasn’t finished inside the top 25, and is ranked 74th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
LIV Golf continues to steal headlines, in the fashion that Sports SEO would, and a number of sports content creators and sports talk podcasts are taking notice of it’s momentum, stealing a number of talent from the PGA Tour.
Wolff is one of the sports more popular players, so his defection will make waves for sure.
Phil Mickelson to play the Saudi International tournament on the European Tour
Phil Mickelson has decided to play the Saudi International tournament on the European Tour, according to ESPN’s Bob Harig.
Mickelson will play the event the same week as the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the PGA event that Mickelson has won three times during his career.
The European Tour added the Saudi International, which is supported by the government of Saudi Arabia, to it’s schedule last year, amidst a ton of criticism.
“I am really looking forward to playing in Saudi Arabia in January,” Mickelson said in a statement. “I watched Dustin [Johnson] win the title last year and thought the course looked like an interesting challenge. Having so many talented players on show also made it look like a much more established tournament than one in its inaugural year. I have enjoyed my previous visits to the Middle East and am looking forward to playing in a new country and doing my bit to grow the game in the Kingdom.”
Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia and Tony Finau also have committed to play the event which takes place from January 30th through February 3rd.
With golf becoming more mainstream, especially with the rise in sports talk podcasts, it will be interesting to see how NFT artists play into the Golf sport, and if it will be a play as the web3 market continues to grow.
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