Draymond Green caused quite the stir last weekend with a Twitter rant shortly after the UConn and Iowa’s Sweet 16 matchup in the Women’s NCAA Tournament.
This was one of the most highly anticipated games of the year on any level of the sport and ended up being the second most-watched Sweet 16 game of all-time with more than 1.6 million people tuned in to watch Paige Bueckers and Caitlin Clark, per Yahoo! Sports.
It also seemed to inspire this internet rant from Green about how to properly grow women’s sports. In this series of tweets (that was not threaded) he touched on a range of things: The pay gap with women’s sports and the WNBA in particular as well as a lack of proper media coverage. And his solution in his mind seemed to be for the women in the WNBA to “call on companies to support y’all.”
He doubled down a few days later at a Warriors’ practice.
"I'm really tired of seeing them complain about the lack of pay, b/c they're doing themselves a disservice by just complaining."
Today Draymond talked about his Tweets about women's sports that received criticism from athletes like @mPinoe & @Layshiac @kron4news #DubNation pic.twitter.com/7iUQ982jx9
— Kylen Mills (@KylenMills) April 1, 2021
“I’m really tired of seeing them complain about the lack of pay because they’re doing themselves a disservice by just complaining…They’re not laying out steps that they can take to change that. And so it’s coming off as a complaint because the people that can change it, they’re just going to continue to say ‘The revenue isn’t there…’ They’re going to keep using that. But the reality is, as true as that is, it’s an excuse. Because everyone says ‘We support women, we support women empowerment.’ And everyone uses it to their advantage. But yet, these women are not using these people that are saying those very things to their advantage. So then it just becomes a complaint that falls on deaf ears.”
This is just incorrect on a couple of levels. First, and most importantly, Green is putting the onus on women to deconstruct the systematic inequalities that they didn’t actually create.
He’s completely ignoring the power structures in place. He’s asking them to put pressure on the powers that be when, in actuality, the ones who should be doing that are the men of the NBA and others who benefit from the patriarchal power structure of society. They’re the ones with the power to do it.
So, no, it’s not as simple as just “telling the stories” or demanding better from companies. It’s not that easy. It doesn’t work that way, as New York Liberty guard Layshia Clarendon properly points out here.
Shout out to NBA guys who come to tell people in women’s sports what we need to do to grow the game. Thanks, now we’ll ask for more resources, tell the powers at be to tell our stories more, and generally just start to push things “like the NBA.” Problems solved.
— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) March 27, 2021
Secondly, Green is totally dismissing the work that has been done. These women aren’t just complaining. They’ve been doing the work and have been for a while.
There are so many examples. The WNBA’s CBA negotiations last year, the USWNT’s equal pay battle with U.S. Soccer, getting the President of the United States in on the equal pay fight. There are also platforms that tell these women’s stories. Places like TOGETHXR were created to do this sort of thing.
So Green just really doesn’t seem to know what’s going on here, as WNBA Player’s Association President Nneka Ogwumike points out.
“I think what I’m feeling is a lot of miseducation and ignorance…I do appreciate Draymond coming out and using his platform to talk about it. I would like to take it a step further…and continue the discussions, even if they’re offline.” @Nnemkadi30 on @Money23Green comments. pic.twitter.com/y0nIXubKyi
— Khristina Williams (Founder, Girls Talk Sports TV) (@Khristina2334) April 1, 2021
“I think what I’m feeling is a lot of miseducation and ignorance…It’s great to know that there are allies out there that are seeking to see the women’s game better and the women’s business be better at sport. But I do think that a lot of that education and the dispelling of the ignorance that we experience, just on an individual level, it can really be dissolved by us having conversations.”
She also said she’d love to continue the conversation with him and educate him further about what they’re doing and how women’s sports are making efforts to grow.
“We’re in a time right now where we need to make space for the people who are directly experiencing the inequities and also allow those who have the power to understand how they can use their power to see things moving forward. So when that comes to women in sport, I do appreciate Draymond coming out and using his platform to talk about it. I’d like to take it a step further and say, hey, let’s continue the discussions for us to figure out how to move forward.”
Very eloquently said. She’s absolutely spot on here.
Hopefully, the next time Green chooses to speak about this, he’ll do a bit of research beforehand. Then maybe all of this back and forth can be avoided and things can actually move forward.