Los Angeles Sparks standout Nneka Ogwumike mentioned by way of social media Monday evening that “transformational progress” within the WNBA is hampered by ongoing journey points and what she sees as “drained arguments.” towards potential cures.
Ogwumike and the Sparks had journey points Sunday at Dulles Airport in Virginia after their win over the Washington Mystics. After two delays, the Sparks flight was canceled and booked for Monday morning.
“The primary time in my 11 seasons that I’ve needed to sleep on the airport,” Ogwumike said in a video posted on social media early Monday morning.. “Half of us are sleeping in an airport, the opposite half are in a lodge. There weren’t sufficient rooms after our flight was delayed, delayed (once more), then canceled at 1am. Now it is 1: 44 and us”. I am right here till 9 am”
The Sparks boarded the Monday morning flight and returned to Los Angeles round midday; they’ll host the Connecticut Solar on Tuesday evening because the WNBA wraps up its remaining week of the common season.
A number of sources instructed ESPN that each Sparks participant was provided a lodge room, however not everybody in the identical lodge as a result of a restricted variety of rooms have been out there. However because of the late hour and the necessity to return to the airport with such a brief turnaround time for the rescheduled flight, some gamers selected to remain on the airport. Sparks player Lexie Brown also confirmed it via social media..
Based on a CNN report, greater than 900 flights throughout the nation have been canceled on Sunday and almost 700 on Saturday as airways proceed to grapple with points together with staffing shortages and climate.
The WNBA’s journey scenario continues to be a difficulty raised by gamers on social media, and Ogwumike’s excessive profile as chair of the gamers’ union govt committee drew consideration to her submit.
The WNBA doesn’t have constitution flights attributable to prohibitive prices, league commissioner Cathy Engelbert has mentioned a number of occasions. However the league will contract for all WNBA Finals video games, she introduced at a information convention earlier than the All-Star Recreation in July. The WNBA might also select to enter the playoffs earlier if groups cross a number of time zones with restricted time between video games.
The WNBA’s most up-to-date collective bargaining settlement, signed in January 2020, doesn’t embody bylaws, and league guidelines prohibit any of the 12 groups from individually choosing the bylaw, as that would create a aggressive drawback between them. . It was revealed earlier this yr that the New York Liberty was fined $500,000 for utilizing constitution flights from time to time final season. Engelbert additionally denied a report that Liberty proprietor Joseph Tsai had provided the league a plan that might cowl charters for all WNBA groups.
Along with his outstanding union function, Ogwumike was instrumental in getting the CBA handed, however famous in a social media assertion that a lot has modified in air journey because the COVID-19 pandemic, and that must be taken into consideration.
“Throughout these unprecedented occasions, the required type of business journey stays a big burden on our gamers and their our bodies,” Ogwumike posted. “This can be a critical well being and security problem that must be remedied.
“Aggressive benefit is a hackneyed argument that has caught round longer than anticipated. It is a phrase that impedes transformational progress throughout our league. New and rising possession teams have proven the flexibility and enthusiasm to speculate the sources wanted to develop this league within the areas that require is probably the most”.
In July, Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve expressed frustration with what she felt was the league’s sluggish response to the Lynx’s journey points moving into Washington for a sport. When requested about it, Mystics coach Mike Thibault initially mentioned he was “uninterested in listening to” about WNBA journey delays and he did not really feel sorry for the Lynx as a result of it occurs to each staff. . Nevertheless, he later apologized for his feedback.
In gentle of Sparks’ troubles on Sunday, Ogwumike, with the backing of the union, wrote on social media Monday that he hopes this can result in extra journey enhancements.
“We reiterate our standing invitation to the league and staff house owners to work collectively to determine a manageable answer to this downside whose origins are complicated, however with a easy treatment,” Ogwumike wrote. “It is time to permit groups to put money into charters between video games, beginning with all the 2022 WNBA playoffs and persevering with with a common sense, full-season answer starting in 2023.
“And within the spirit of collaboration, we’re calling on each non-public and business airways to acknowledge this daring alternative to steer: American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United, NetJets, Wheels Up, JetSuiteX, and extra – we invite you meet us on the desk and accomplice with WNBA gamers to assist get rid of the hardest opponent they face every season: journey.”