Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has never been one to bite his tongue when he feels the need to speak passionately on a topic. But while he thinks his heart is always in the right place, Green’s recent talk with NBC Sports Bay Area reporter Kerith Burke shows that the three-time NBA champion still comes up short concerning how men can help correct the gender pay gap between the WNBA and his league.
In his chat with Burke this week, Green said the following of his WNBA counterparts’ efforts to get paid similarly to the men: “I’ve seen so many complaints recently of women talking about the pay gap between what we make and what they make. And I feel where they’re coming from. I know what I put into this, to be great. They put in the same time in that we put in. So, I understand what they’re saying… But I’m really tired of seeing them complain about the lack of pay because they’re doing themselves a disservice by just complaining.”
Green said that, unless the women players outline a plan to address the problem, “it’s coming off as a complaint because the people who can change it are just going to continue to say: ‘Well, the revenue isn’t there. If you don’t bring in the revenue, we can’t up your pay.'”
When Burke tried to intervene and address Green’s flippant use of the word “complain,” he pushed back again. “They’re going to keep using that,” he pushed back, “but the reality is: As true as that is, it’s an excuse. Everyone says: ‘We support women. We support women empowerment. We support women in the workplace. We do this for women. We do X for women. Blah, blah, blah.’ Everyone uses it to their advantage, and yet, these women are not using these people that are saying these very things to their advantage.”
Green recently tweeted a few shower thoughts on the matter this past Saturday, saying that maybe the WNBA should start telling “telling INDIVIDUAL…stories and building up the interest in the players. That’s how the game took off.” He also suggested names like Sue Bird, Skylar Diggins, and Candace Parker as potential opportunities.
His remarks opened a floodgate of messages from the likes of U.S. professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who happens to be Bird’s spouse as well. Rapinoe took up Green on his offer by using WNBA and UConn basketball great Diana Taurasi as a brief example and then followed up with why she felt his suggestion would not work.
Bird responded to Green’s message the next day and was much more diplomatic than Rapinoe, clarifying that the WNBA does not “ask for NBA money, we point out the discrepancy to highlight the lack of investment & coverage. You got the problem right, you just tagged the wrong ppl.”
Nevertheless, Green is not likely to back down and insists his message is being misinterpreted. “[If the WNBA and businesses] don’t put money toward marketing women, the revenue never grows,” he replied on Wednesday in Miami. “And it falls on deaf ears and comes across as a complaint because no one is going to act on it. If no one acts on it, and you keep saying the same thing over and over, it’s going to come off as a complaint – as opposed to holding these people accountable that say ‘We support women. Women empowerment this, we’re doing all of these things for Women’s Empowerment Month,’ but they don’t put their money behind it.”