Disagreements have broken out in the WNBA because of issues of collective agreement, unfair competition and aircraft. How? Due to the intention of the owners of the New York Liberty, the Tsai couple (Joe, founder of Alibaba, is also the owner of the NBA Nets), to improve the working conditions of their players.

A claim that comes from afar, that of being able to use charter flights instead of commercial flights, for the transfer to matches and concentrations is what has made the situation worsen and has even been thought of expelling this franchise from the league. For trying to close the gender gap.

An investigation by Howard Megdal in Sports Illustrated has opened the debate at the national level and among all levels of basketball. The reactions of the players have not been long in coming either due to the seriousness of what underlies.

The event that brings this problem to the fore is a trip to Napa, a California valley known for its vast wine production. The Liberty went there on Labor Day last year, which is celebrated in early September, with the aim of having time for communion between the players and that connection is then transferred to the field.

But this, according to the rules of the last signed agreement, is not allowed in the WNBA. The owners cannot over-reward the players, it is considered a violation of the collective agreements that harms other teams that are far from guaranteeing that well-being for their assets.

The Liberty were fined for this fact. First, with a million dollars. After resorting, he stayed in half, half a million. Sports Illustrated maintains that the fury has been such within the organization that harsher sanctions have been considered -even- by a Jamin Dershowitz who is the main lawyer of the tournament and comes directly from the NBA.

“Making them lose every draft election they’ve ever seen” and “threatening to cancel the franchise”, these are two of the measures that were on the table.

This group, in addition to being the representative of a city as important as New York, is one of those that is being worked on to win the WNBA in the near future.

They have Sabrina Ionescu, the most promising young woman, and they negotiated with Breanna Stewart, the best player of the moment. They are a threat to other big-name teams (Aces, Storm, Sparks, etc.) in the same way that the Knicks are in the NBA, as attractive as they improve the roster.

What is behind this mess is nothing other than vile metal. Putting the teams on a charter instead of a commercial flight in which they coincide with any citizen costs more money.

That any attempt to progress in this aspect be stopped, even if it comes from one of the renewing owners, clashes head-on with the spirit of the WNBA of equalizing as much as possible the conditions of NBA players with those of the women’s league.

Tsai stayed with the Liberty in 2019, which was previously owned by James Dolan (owner of the Knicks and Madison). In 2020, this CBA was signed, which will last until 2027.

In it, in the context of the pandemic and the increasingly loud protests over the low salaries of the most important women’s league in the world of basketball, an increase in money was applied to receive (the maximum went from $119,000 to $215,000 and the cap for each team was raised by 30%).

Nothing to do with other claims, such as travel, which were forgotten. In 2018, a match was suspended for this reason. The landing, worth the joke, of Cathy Engelbert in the commissioner’s position has been a makeup touch-up on some of the core issues that the players continue to refer to, transportation being one of them.

“What having charter flights represents in the world of sports is that it gives you some validation. It’s preaching that your League is so successful that it has the resources to fly charter, which is incredibly expensive. For many of us it would be an indicator of financial health,” says Sue Bird, one of the most recognizable faces in the WNBA in the last 20 years.

Tsai set out to fix the airplane problem by finding a sponsor that would work for all the franchises. The response that he had received from Engelbert, the boss, referred to the protest of other owners, who claimed they did not have the economic capacity to face this change.

It all comes down to this. An injection of capital was also proposed between owners and investors or that the WNBA sold 20% of the competition, valuing that percentage at 200 million dollars.

The opposition of the Board of Directors to changing the travel policy collided squarely with a strategy that the Liberty not only used in that trip to Napa referred to above, but in all the trips of the second part of the 2021 season.

And the war It has also opened on that flank solely for wanting to improve the reputation of a competition that is economically difficult to sustain.

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