Los Angeles Sparks stand out Mrs. Ogumike On Monday evening, she took to social media to say that the “progress of change” in the WNBA is getting in the way of continued travel issues and solutions to what she sees as a “tired argument.”
Ogumumike and the Sparks had travel issues at Dulles Airport in Virginia on Sunday after their win over the Washington Mystics. After two delays, the Sparks flight was canceled and rescheduled for Monday morning.
I had to sleep in an airport for the first time in season 11. Ogumumike said this in a video he posted on social media on Monday morning.. “Half of us are sleeping at the airport, half of us are in the hotel. After our flight was delayed, delayed (again) and then canceled at 1am, there weren’t enough rooms. Stay here until 9:00.”
Sparks boarded a Monday morning flight and returned to Los Angeles around noon; They host the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night as the WNBA wraps up the final week of the regular season.
Multiple sources told ESPN that every Sparks player has been offered a hotel room, but not all of them are in the same hotel because they don’t all have a specific room in the same hotel. However, some players chose to stay at the airport as it was late and they had to return to the airport with a short turnaround time for their next flight. Sparks player Lexie Brown also confirmed on social media.
According to CNN, more than 900 flights were canceled nationwide on Sunday, and nearly 700 flights were canceled on Saturday as airlines grappled with issues including staff shortages and weather.
The WNBA’s travel situation continues to be a topic of discussion among players on social media, and Ogyumike’s prominent role as president of the Players Association Executive Committee drew attention to her post.
The WNBA does not have chartered flights because of prohibitive costs, league commissioner Cathy Englebert has said several times. But the league will charter all WNBA Finals games, she announced at a news conference before the July All-Star Game. The WNBA can elect to charter early in the playoffs if teams are crossing restricted time zones between games.
The WNBA’s latest collective bargaining agreement, signed in January 2020, does not include charters, and league rules prohibit any of the 12 teams from individually electing to charter because that would create a competitive disadvantage among them. It was announced earlier this year that the New York Liberty were fined $500,000 for using charters at times last season. Engelbert also denied reports that Liberty owner Joseph Tsai has presented the league with a plan to cover charters for all WNBA teams.
In her prominent union role, Ogyumike was instrumental in getting the CBA passed, but in a statement on social media, she pointed out that there have been many changes in air travel since the Covid-19 pandemic and that needs to be taken into account.
“In these unprecedented times, the type of business travel required continues to be a huge burden on our players and their bodies,” Ogumike posted. “This is a serious health and safety concern that needs to be addressed.
“Competitive advantage has tirelessly overstayed its welcome. It’s a catchphrase for change in our league. New and emerging ownership groups have shown the ability and willingness to invest the necessary resources to grow this league in demanding areas. That’s all.”
In July, Minnesota Lynx coach Sherrill Reeve expressed frustration with what she felt was the league’s slow response to the Lynx’s travel to Washington for a game. Asked about the issue, Secrets coach Mike Thibault initially said, “I’m tired of hearing about WNBA travel delays” and that it happens to every team. However, he later apologized for what he said.
In view of the sparks issues on Sunday, Ogyumike wrote on social media on Monday with the support of the union, this will lead to more travel improvements.
“While the root cause of this problem is complex, we continue to call on the league and team ownership to work together to identify the simplest solution.” Starting with the 2022 WNBA playoffs and continuing with a full-season solution starting in 2023, it’s time to allow teams to invest in charter flights between games.
“And in the spirit of collaboration, we’re asking both private and commercial airlines to recognize this bold leadership opportunity: American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United, NetJets, Wheels Up, JetSuiteX and more. We encourage you to connect. We’re at the table in partnership with the WNBA players.” It helps us avoid the toughest opponents we face every season: Travel.