Caitlin Clark exposes male-dominated sports media as she takes WNBA to the ‘next level’ - Hindustan Times
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Caitlin Clark exposes male-dominated sports media as she takes WNBA to the ‘next level’

Jun 05, 2024 08:04 AM IST

Caitlin Clark's entry into the WNBA exposes the mainstream media's historical oversight and the need for greater respect towards women's basketball.

Caitlin Clark is a rookie who uncorked into the WNBA, and the male-dominated sporting press is struggling to keep up with her.

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives to the basket against New York Liberty forward Betnijah Laney-Hamilton (44) during the first half of a WNBA basketball game, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray, File)(AP)
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives to the basket against New York Liberty forward Betnijah Laney-Hamilton (44) during the first half of a WNBA basketball game, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray, File)(AP)

This immediate shift can be seen as a form of mistreatment because mainstream sports platforms and outlets have not paid enough attention to women’s basketball, specifically the WNBA.

Instead of these past oversights, a few male commentators have imposed themselves into the discussion about the league to avenge what they consider to be ignorance and negativity towards them while displaying ignorance and dismissing any constructive criticism.

ALSO READ| Caitlin Clark NOT the only reason for WNBA's popularity surge, Angel Reese okay being ‘bad guy’ in longstanding rivalry

Was the league dormant before Clark's arrival?

After Chennedy Carter fouled Clark over the weekend, ESPN host Pat McAfee called Clark the “White b*tch for the Indiana team,” while arguing that she was solely responsible for the newfound popularity of the WNBA.

McAfee later apologized for his language but maintained that Clark's star power had revitalized the league.

“I was talking about how I hoped that the WNBA and sports media, ex-WNBA players, would show a little bit more respect to Caitlin Clark for what she has brought to the WNBA,” McAfee said on his show.

Clark has become a focal point for male sportscasters in a league largely built by Black and LGBTQ athletes, who have been marginalized by mainstream media. For instance, Charles Barkley recently labelled women as “petty” for being tough on Clark.

“Y’all should be thanking that girl for getting y’all ass’ private charters, all the money and visibility she brings into the WNBA,” Barkley said on TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA.’

ALSO READ| ‘You’re a baller': Caitlin Clark finds more support from Brittany Mahomes amid WNBA foul fracas, Angel Reese penalty

‘WNBA experts now that Clark is in the league’

Journalist Victoria Uwumarogie addressed this issue and said that “the expectations Barkley has of men are vastly different from those he has for women, and that’s similar to many of the other men who are, all of a sudden, WNBA experts now that Clark is in the league.”

Clark is now “going up against women who’ve been fighting for their just dues for years, including veterans and champions who were putting the league on the map before she stepped on the cour,” she wrote.

Basketball analyst Monica McNutt pointed out on ESPN’s “First Take.”

“There are so many layers in this conversation,” McNutt said, countering two male co-hosts who tried to interrupt her.

“The prevailing sentiment for folks that are just joining the WNBA and following women’s sports is unfair to the women of this league … who have laid the groundwork for Caitlin Clark to come in and now take it to the next level.”

ALSO READ| Caitlin Clark on the brink of potential WNBA suspension? Standout rookie sounds off against perceived unfair treatment

However, host Stephen A. Smith retorted, “Who talks about the WNBA … who talks about women’s sports more than ‘First Take?’”

McNutt responded, “Stephen A., respectfully, with your platform, you could have been doing this three years ago if you wanted to.”

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