Friday, April 17, 2009
It appears that Extrugasa, before their final loss of the season to Ros Casares, were given a letter last Wednesday. My understanding is that since Extrugasa had fallen to the bottom of the Liga Feminina (the Spanish Women's Basketball League) and were destined to be sent to Liga Feminina 2 the Extrugasa Board of Directors felt they should be compensated. They were asked to sign a letter turning over part of their salary back to Extrugasa, which would be taken out of their paychecks in September. (Apparently, the team promised them some back salary which was due in September.)
No one on the team signed that letter. The players informed the club that they didn't want to be involved in any contentious disputes right there and then. If the club had any issues with player salaries, Extrugasa could speak with their agents.
Sara Gomez, Extrugasa's team captain, said "It is normal to be disappointed, like all other players in the staff refused to sign the document, as well as punish them for the reason explained above, they were promised payment of salaries owed to them in next September." Basically, she meant that she understood that Extrugasa was unhappy with the results, but the payment was promised to the players and they deserved it.
The story above illustrates the difference between Europe and the United States. European players, like American players, are concerned about the financial survival of their league. The WNBA's union has pretty much given in to management demands - they'll take lower salaries to ensure they have a place to play. European players want to work with management as much as they can, like the Americans.
I expect, however, that the Americans would have been far less polite about it. Suppose that Ron Terwillinger walked into the dressing room of the Atlanta Dream and said, "I'd like for you to return, oh, 25 percent of your salaries back to us after that horrible season. After all, you didn't perform to expectations." It would have taken a crowbar to peel Betty Lennox's claws from his face.
(Heads up to Bert at the Painel do Basquete Feminino blog for pointing out the story.)