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Hoda Kotb Weighs In on Caitlin Clark's Salary Controversy: "Picking at an Old Scab"

The TODAY host sympathized with Clark's treatment as a woman in a competitive field. 

By Jackie Manno

Hoda Kotb was not afraid to speak her mind regarding the unequal pay that women receive in sports industries in 2024. Read all about what she said on TODAY, below. 

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Watch TODAY weekdays at 7AM ET on NBC.

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Why Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager are dismayed by Caitlin Clark's WNBA salary

Former University of Iowa basketball star Caitlin Clark was selected as the number one pick for the WNBA draft on April 15, and her first-year salary will come to $76,535 according to the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement. She'll earn a total of $338,056 over four years For reference, Victor Wembanyama, who was the No. 1 pick in last year’s NBA draft, earned a $12.1 million salary in his first season, per Spotrac.  

While on TODAY on April 16, hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager expressed their frustrations surrounding Clark's alarmingly low salary in comparison to her male counterparts. 

“I saw it and I was like, ‘This can’t be right,’” Kotb said. 

“This is like picking at an old scab for many women,” she added, tying the situation back to when she got her start as a broadcaster. “[It's] sitting for many years next to co-anchors over the years and not knowing what anyone got paid and then discovering you were making, like, a tiny fraction of what the guy was making next to you.”

She continued: “I think it’s all these old things and there was something about it, like, I was imagining the little girls with the signs who were filling the stadiums, who are now obsessed with basketball, with signs that say ‘Caitlin,’ and society I guess is saying, ‘Well, this is what that’s worth right now. That’s worth $76,000.’”

A split of Hoda Kotb and Caitlin Clark

Hager also had strong thoughts. “Honestly, the gap is so jarring. Ten million to 78 (thousand). It’s so jarring, the discrepancy. We’re talking about equal pay. That isn’t even close,” she said. 

“I feel like it’s the same story, and I understand it’s about the WNBA, wasn’t making a ton of money. I understand,” Kotb added. 

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Caitlin Clark during the 2024 final four

However, with these active conversations, the two have high hopes that pay equality will be a possibility for women in the future. 

“But we also know that things are changing,” Hager said.

“This is the moment,” Hoda chimed in with a nod.

Even though Clark's popularity with ticket sales will earn her additional profit, Bush Hager was still highly disappointed at Clark's initial pay by the WNBA.

“We’re just talking about the baseline paycheck, which is hugely different than the men,” she said.