WNBA Star Detained in Russia

By Sammy Fisher ‘25, Staff Writer

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is often criticized for its poor treatment of players, as the pay and traveling conditions are far inferior to that of its counterpart, the National Basketball Association (NBA). On March 5, a Russian news outlet reported that WNBA star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for possession of a vape cartridge containing hashish oil, a stronger form of marijuana. At first glance, this looks like Griner’s mistake, but the circumstances reveal that the WNBA is also at fault. 

The highest salary in the WNBA is $227,900, over 45 times less than the highest salary of an NBA player. People with Griner’s job are making 45 times as much as she does so they can stay in shape and healthy during the offseason. Griner is paid much less while still having to get healthy and stay in shape. Brittney Griner and other WNBA players made the smart financial and physical decision to play overseas in the offseason. increasing their pay and continuing to play basketball at an extremely high level. In Russia, elite players can get paid over $1,000,000 a year. 

While transporting hashish oil internationally is illegal and her detention is deserved, Griner should have never even been in Russia. The WNBA needs to take this as a wakeup call. Undoubtedly, Griner would much rather live in America full time and not have to play for two different professional sports teams. The danger of players getting hurt in the offseason should’ve been reason enough to increase compensation.

Heschel Freshman Nate Weiss shared, “It is really unfortunate to see stars like Griner put in these awful situations because the WNBA refuses to pay their players.” Incidents like Griner’s alert sports fans that the WNBA needs to do better in treating their players equitably.

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