WNBA legend and Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes is concerned for female athletes after the threat of coronavirus postponed the start of the season, saying that some players “have no idea if they will even be paid.”
Swoopes told TMZ on Tuesday that there is a lot of uncertainty among players in the WNBA, and without naming specifics, she said there’s a real fear that they may not get paid if the season gets canceled altogether.
“The tough part is the unknown. Not knowing when the season will start if the season will start. Without getting too personal, a lot of [the players] have no idea if they will even be paid.”
Swoopes said that while some players who have been in the league for some time and have had the chance to play overseas might be financially secure, there are some who “probably without a doubt will be struggling if the season does not happen this summer.”
The WNBA season was scheduled to begin on May 15 but was postponed because of the spread of COVID-19. Like other leagues, there has been no timetable as to when the season will resume, if at all.
The three-time WNBA MVP said that while she thinks the NBA should step in to help, the league has already done so much.
“You look at everything that the NBA, they have done, that they’re currently doing, donating money to other causes and trying to help find a way to fight this pandemic and help find a cure … they are helping in other areas.”
She added that if players in the NBA were aware that players in the WNBA were struggling, she believes they would step in.
“I think it’s a situation where if NBA players knew that there were WNBA players struggling or in need for help or there was something they could do, I definitely think that there are some players that would step up to the table and say ‘Alright, what can we do? What do you guys need and we’ll help you out.”
Earlier this year the WNBA and the Players Association reached a new Collective Bargaining Agreement aimed at increasing salaries. A statement released from the league at the time said that players would average nearly $130,000 under the new agreement for the first time in WNBA history, NBC Sports reported.