Is Racism And Resentment Fueling The Caitlin Clark, Team USA Controversy?

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jun 24, 2024 - 03:20 AM

Authored by Richard Truesdell via American Greatness,

Once or twice in a generation, an athlete comes along who dominates and often redefines their sport. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was Muhammad Ali. In the 1980s, it was Martina Navratilova. In the 1990s, it was Michael Jordan. In the 2000s, it was Tom Brady and Michael Phelps. In the 2010s, it was Serena Williams. Clark now joins this roster as a generational talent.

Since the beginning of June, you can’t turn on any broadcast or online sports channel and not hear the name Caitlin Clark. Her presence dominates the airwaves and coverage has crossed over to the mainstream with non-sports media and even late-night comedy shows like Saturday Night Live featuring Clark. This is especially true in the wake of the decision by the USA Basketball selection committee to exclude her from the team going to the Olympics in Paris next month.

At this point, I think that even if she were selected as the first alternate, Clark should decline.

It’s clearly obvious from their public statements that the closely-knit team of veterans doesn’t want her and the attention she will bring to the team’s effort to win a seventh straight Olympic gold medal.

I think she should let her 22-year-old body heal during the Olympics, as she’s just gone from the NCAA Championship straight into the WNBA regular season.

On June 1, on an off night from beyond the three-point arc against the rival Chicago Sky, which features another highly touted rookie, Angel Reese, Clark found other ways to contribute in front of a hometown crowd—11 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and one steal—by dishing off to her teammates and rebounding. During that game, Clark took a vicious away-from-the-ball hit from Chennedy Carter.

That foul got a lot of media attention, given that, at the time, Carter received just a regular foul. After the game, it was upgraded to a flagrant foul (game highlights here). At the rematch in Indianapolis on June 16, Clark turned in a balanced, stellar performance—23 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds—helping her team to its second consecutive win over the Chicago Sky (game highlights here).

These two fouls have been cited by many as evidence that Clark is being targeted by certain WNBA players.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that Black NBA players and sports commentators have been among Clark’s most prominent supporters. On the popular Fox Sports Speak podcast, the panel brought the issue into clear focus and did not shy away from discussing racial issues. On a June 3, 2024 podcast former NFL wide receiver James Jones defended Clark, questioning why her teammates weren’t stepping up to support her on the court. If the women’s game is becoming more physical, then Clark’s teammates must rise to the occasion. That seemed a bit more apparent in the June 16th rematch.

But let’s look at the racist attitude of a well-known, so-called journalist covering this story. In a piece that ran in the far-left propaganda outlet The Atlantic, well-known race-baiter and former ESPN reporter Jemelle Hill has written one derogatory and hate-filled story after another on Clark. This one was especially egregious. Thankfully, this is just one jealous woman’s opinion. (I believe the vast majority of Black WNBA fans respect Clark’s talents and recognize that she’s a positive influence on the sport.)

Before this year’s WNBA draft, the only two WNBA players I recognized were Brittany Greiner because of her misadventure in Russia last year and Diana Taurasi, who has been a stalwart member of the US women’s basketball movement going back to her four years at the University of Connecticut when she was a member of three NCAA championship teams. Currently 42 years old, Taurasi was selected for her sixth national team to go to the Paris Olympics this summer.

It turns out that Taurasi has been another one of Clark’s most vocal critics, saying that as a WNBA rookie, she needs more experience before she’s ready for the US National Team, “playing against grown women instead of college players.” This is funny given Taurasi’s selection to the 2004 National Team after she ended her career at the University of Connecticut and went on to participate in the Games held that year and four teams that followed. Isn’t it time to give a younger player a chance to contribute and gain experience?

Caitlin Clark is the personification of everything great about women’s athletics and the character it builds in young women. Clark is respected by many of her peers but unfortunately, not all. These haters are objectively resentful of Clark’s success. It borders on reverse racism. For almost three decades, the WNBA has toiled in virtual anonymity. The composition of the players in the league is over 60 percent African-American and close to 40 percent openly identify as gay, although some surveys say it is higher. Either way, it really doesn’t matter.

Now comes Clark, with prodigious talents and an outgoing personality, who happens not to fall into either category. Because of this, many of her competitors seem to resent her. They are asking themselves, “Why isn’t it me who got multi-million dollar endorsement deals with Nike, Wilson, Gatorade, State Farm, and others?”

To answer that question, ask yourself this:. Who would you want your daughter or granddaughter to look up to, to emulate, to be inspired by? A young woman (no matter her color or sexual orientation) who has taken the country by storm with her engaging personality and who has brought attention, eyeballs, and possibly an unprecedented $250 million media rights deal to the doorstep of the WNBA?

Or someone who stupidly attempted to smuggle a known banned substance into a totalitarian state and received a nine-month vacation in a Russian gulag before, in a move designed to pander to two important voting blocs (Blacks and LBGT advocates), the Biden Administration traded this player for a known terrorist and worldwide arms merchant while leaving several more deserving Americans behind.

I think that’s a very simple question to answer. And it has very little to do with kneeling or staying behind in the locker room while the National Anthem is played.

I’ve watched Clark perform in the NCAA Championship this year and in several WNBA games this year. The mugging she’s received on the court goes way beyond the “Welcome to the WNBA girl” stuff that is dished out to newcomers in any professional sport, male or female. And I couldn’t help but notice that the dishing out was usually being administered by a certain group of players (not really a surprise statistically given that the group in question constitutes 60 percent of the players in the league but seems disproportionate to my eyes).

Need I say more? No.

The WNBA needs Caitlin Clark much more than Caitlin Clark needs the WNBA. Her endorsement deals are based not only on her skills on the court but also on the young woman that her loving and supportive parents raised her to be and her engaging personality. She is a generational superstar and the lame reasons cited by USA Today journalist Christine Brennen for USA Basketball for not selecting her to represent the United States next month in Paris have damaged them, not her. She could have a career-ending injury in the next four years and may never get the opportunity to represent her country, for reasons that seem specious at best.

If this treatment by her opponents and the WNBA continues after the Olympics, then Clark will be faced with a difficult decision. Should she continue to endure this nonsense or should she take her God-given talents and her fans to another competitive venue? Could it be Ice Cube’s BIG3 3-on-3 league (and get paid $5 million more than her $80,000 WNBA salary) and be welcomed there by the likes of women’s basketball legend Nancy Lieberman? Or should she take her talents overseas, where they will be more appreciated? Having coached competitive athletes—male and female—I think one side of her will say, “I’ll work through this; it will get better. I’ll earn their respect.” But the other inner voice will say, “I’ve had enough; I don’t need to prove myself to these petty and resentful people.”

If she chooses option one, I applaud her because that’s what elite athletes do: they rise to the occasion. But if she chooses option two, who would blame her? Then the players in the WNBA will start flying commercially again and will only have themselves to blame. This is before the NBA decides to stop subsidizing the league to the tune of $50 million a year, with the WNBA fading back into the obscurity it so richly deserves and finally disappearing.

Few sports fans will shed a tear if that happens.