Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Salary Sparks Pay Gap Outrage: Hoda Kotb, Russell Wilson & More Speak Out

Caitlin Clark fans are speaking out over the college basketball phenom’s pro salary.

Clark made history last month as the NCAA’s top Division 1 scorer for both male and female players and she also landed a spot on the Indiana Fever as the WNBA’s No. 1 draft pick earlier this week.

Despite her record-breaking work on the court, however, many were shocked to discover that the University of Iowa alum will only be earning a fraction of what her male counterparts do in the NBA.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – APRIL 17: Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever poses for a photo during her introductory press conference on April 17, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

According to the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement, Clark and her fellow top draft picks through No. 4 are each slated to earn $338,056 over their first four years in the league. That number breaks down to a base starting salary of $76,535 and will increase annually to a fourth-year option of $97,582.

The figures left many stunned, considering the NBA’s No. 1 pick for 2023, Victor Wembanyama, inked a four-year contract worth a reported $55 million.

Though others noted that Clark will likely earn millions from her endorsement deals with companies including Nike, the pay gap drew widespread outrage and confusion on social media.

“Today” co-host Hoda Kotb was among the famous faces to weigh in on the issue, admitting on X that she thought the numbers she read must have been a mistake.

“She had the highest ratings, her teams and the Final Four had the highest ratings — higher than the World Series, higher than the NBA,” she said of Clark on Tuesday’s show. “So I was like, what is she going to get paid? Because finally, you can get a real paycheck. Then I saw it and was like, ‘This can’t be right.'”

Other athletes also sounded off, with NFL quarterback Russell Wilson responding to Clark’s contract in a post on X.

“These ladies deserve so much more… Praying for the day,” he wrote.

As of Wednesday, the WNBA had not responded to requests for comment from multiple outlets including NBC News.

The league’s salary rates have been a heated topic for some time, as players including Brittney Griner have said they often play for international teams to supplement their incomes in the off-season.

Even President Biden issued a statement on the topic after Clark’s contract went viral, sharing his support to narrow the pay discrepancy between male and female athletes.

“Women in sports continue to push new boundaries and inspire us all. But right now we’re seeing that even if you’re the best, women are not paid their fair share,” his message read. “It’s time that we give our daughters the same opportunities as our sons and ensure women are paid what they deserve.”

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