Caitlin Clark Pushes Back Against People Using Her Name to Perpetuate Racism

Jun 10, 2024; Uncasville, Connecticut, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts after her third foul against the Connecticut Sun in the second quarter at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Jun 10, 2024; Uncasville, Connecticut, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts after her third foul against the Connecticut Sun in the second quarter at Mohegan Sun Arena. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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As one of the most famous college athletes in history, Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark unquestionably entered the WNBA with a target on her back.

However, the college-star-goes-pro arc familiar to sports fans has been twisted in Clark's case into something truly dark. Amid a maelstrom of scrutiny—and scrutiny of that scrutiny—Clark has remained admirably calm, averaging 16 points per game even as the Fever continue to struggle.

On Thursday, Clark was asked pregame about the use of her name being weaponized by people for racist, misogynistic and otherwise nefarious purposes. She was quick to denounce it.

"I think it's disappointing. Everyone in our world deserves the same amount of respect," Clark said. "The women in our league deserve the same amount of respect. People should not be using my name to push those agendas."

Public debate regarding Clark—already toxic in many respects—has overheated since reports emerged Saturday that she would not make the American Olympic women's basketball team.

"It's not acceptable," Clark said. "This league is the league I grew up admiring and wanting to be a part of. Some of the women in this league were my biggest idols and role models growing up and helped me want to achieve this moment right here. ... Treating every single woman in this league with the same amount of respect is a basic human thing that everybody should do."


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in December 2022, having worked for The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword and Diamond Digest. Andres has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a double major in history .