When Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) President Nneka Ogwumike announced the union’s decision to opt out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), she also made two vital requests of the NBA: (1) “bet on women” and (2) engage in the CBA process with “full transparency” about the WNBA’s financial standing.
Via essay in The Players’ Tribune, Ogwumike wrote: “You probably don’t know this, but as players, we never get to see the numbers. We don’t know how the league is doing. As the kids say nowadays, we just want to see the receipts.”
Following publication of this piece on Ogwumike’s statement, the league submitted a statement to me asserting it had shared this information with the union. According to NBA spokesman Mike Bass, “We have shared the WNBA’s financials with the players union — the union has full access to the league’s and all 12 teams’ revenues and expenses covering the entire term of this CBA.”
However, when I reached out to the WNBPA for comment, a union representative indicated that it has not gained full access to the WNBA’s financials yet. According to the following official statement from the WNBPA:
We are awaiting complete information from the League. Out of respect for the process we will withhold further comment at this time.
Meanwhile, in response to the union’s announcement of its decision to opt out of the CBA, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum, serving as interim president of the WNBA, stated that the NBA is “committed to an open and good-faith negotiation that is rooted in the financial realities of our business.”
For “open and good-faith” dialogue to transpire, the two parties must approach the bargaining table with equal knowledge. Thus far, however, it appears the WNBPA has not attained what Ogwumike called the union’s “primary objective” of perspicuity regarding the financial standing of the WNBA.