ESPN’s Pat McAfee Apologizes to Caitlin Clark for Off-Color Comment on Live Show

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Pat McAfee issued an apology for calling Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark a “white b----” during a WNBA segment on his show Monday.

“I shouldn’t have used ‘white b----’ as a descriptor of Caitlin Clark,” McAfee wrote on X more than an hour after his show aired. “No matter the context .. even if we’re talking about race being a reason for some of the stuff happening.. I have way too much respect for her and women to put that into the universe.”

McAfee continued: “My intentions when saying it were complimentary just like the entire segment but, a lot of folks are saying that it certainly wasn’t at all. That’s 100% on me and for that I apologize… I have sent an apology to Caitlin as well. Everything else I said… still alllllll facts.”

The ESPN talk show host was trying to praise Clark on Monday’s show, pointing to the WNBA’s popularity surge ever since the former Hawkeyes standout was drafted last April. 

“I would like the media people that continue to say, ‘This rookie class, this rookie class, this rookie class.’ Nah, just call it for what it is: there's one white b---- for the Indiana team who is a superstar," McAfee said.

ESPN declined to comment prior to McAfee's apology.

McAfee, who has built a lucrative brand out of his frank, colorful and often unapologetic takes, went viral shortly after his WNBA segment as fans slammed his controversial remarks about Clark on social media.

Despite his apology, McAfee proceeded to use the same NFSW language on a WWE broadcast on Monday evening. Though the circumstances were very different, the talk show host’s select choice of words during the broadcast, which aired just hours later, was certainly suspect. 

McAfee’s recent antics don’t deserve to take anything away from the steady rise of the WNBA. Prior to this year’s star-studded rookie class, the 2023 WNBA regular season reached over 36 million total unique viewers across all national networks, its highest mark since 2008 and up 27% from 2022.


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Kristen Wong

KRISTEN WONG

Kristen Wong is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. She has been a sports journalist since 2020. Before joining SI, Kristen covered four NFL teams as an associate editor with the FanSided NFL Network and worked as a staff writer for the brand’s flagship site. She has written about soccer, the NFL, NBA, and MLB since 2020, and outside of work, has dreams of running her own sporty dive bar.