Press Box: Mo Money No Problem

Bryant Drayton, photo by Brooke Marsh

The Notorious B.I.G told us all in his 1997 classic “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems” that the bigger your wallet, the more problems you see.

Well for VCU’s Will Wade, that may be a problem he is more than happy to deal with.

If this week in sports has taught us anything, it’s that we should have taken rec-league sports more serious when we were younger. All the times I went to my knees in circuit planks when the coach turned his head has come back to haunt me.

Wade stamped an eight-year contract extension on March 29. The specifics of the contract have not been announced, but we all can suspect that Wade got paid.

The 33-year-old men’s basketball coach led VCU to a 25-11 record and a Round of 32 appearance in the NCAA Tournament — success that blew preseason expectations out of the water.

Wade was the 38th highest paid coach in the country based upon USA Today’s coaching salaries. Although compared to Duke’s Coach K and his $7,299,666 salary, Wade’s $1 million salary looks like an average nine-to-five. Can’t fault Shaka for leaving after learning he is the 13th highest paid coach, bringing in $2,805,000 per year.

Yet another reason why I wished I learned to dribble with my left hand. Actually, I blame my parents. I knew my basketball prowess wasn’t going to blossom in church league.

But unlike Wade and other winners cashing out with mind boggling contracts, some are still battling to receive the pay deservant of their play.

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is coming off a recent World Cup trophy in 2015 after dismantling Japan in blowout fashion 5-2. Yet, the players have been out-spoken this week in claiming their equal pay rights have not been met.

The average professional female soccer player brings in around $37,000 per year. For men, the average is $300,000, a 40 percent difference.

Not to mention, the talent level on our men’s team pales in comparison to that of our women. The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team faced elimination from the World Cup in 2018 if they had lost to Guatemala on Tuesday. They would go on to win 4-0 with smiles and hugs. As if they actually believed for a second they could be the first team out of the World Cup since 1986.

Five top women soccer players filed a federal complaint Wednesday against U.S. soccer, accusing them of wage discrimination.

What the women’s team has done over the years is nothing short of dominant. Their brand has gone global and the precedence they have set with winning has paid yearly dividends.

Jürgen Klinnsman, head coach for the USMNT, makes $2.5 million per year compared to USWNT Jill Ellis making $215,000 — 10 times more in pay.

For male athletes to take home almost more than double what female athletes make is a travesty to sports. U.S. Soccer will have to tame this issue immediately before they dig themselves in a grave bigger than the one they are already in.

Imagine if Wade was not paid based on his performance. His exit would come faster than it took him to get the team to actually knock down late game free throws — was that too soon?

I’m all for the USWNT to be paid more than the USMNT. Equal pay leading to equal competition between the two sides may actually be good for the sport. Our men may actually care to possess the ball to score rather than being on the defensive for 90 minutes.

It’s time for U.S. soccer to be honest about the reason behind why men’s soccer is relevant. Sports bars across the country enjoyed serving countless pitchers for the 2014 World Cup. This was a short-lived money making expenditure, but at least the nation got off work early a couple of days.

The point for any job is to be compensated for performance. For Wade, his performance in rejuvenating the team will make him a happy man for years to come. For the USWNT, well, it is time for them to have money problems of their own.

Sports Editor, Bryant Drayton

Bryant Drayton, photo by Brooke MarshBryant is a sports advocate who’s always smiling. He is a senior print and online journalism major aspiring for a career as a professional or college football columnist. Bryant currently covers high school football games for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. // Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

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