Stephᴇn A. Sᴍith oꜰ ESPN suggests jealousy among WNBA players ᴛowards Caitlin Clark, hints at racial fᴀctor

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Caitlin Clark found herself on the receiving end of a tough foul from Chennedy Carter of the Chicago Sky during the Indiana Fever’s nail-biting victory on Saturday, sparking a whirlwind of conversation across the sports sphere.


As Carter took to Threads to critique Clark’s game, the tension spilled over into Monday, dominating discussions on ESPN’s “First Take.” Stephen A. Smith, Monica McNutt, Shannon Sharpe, and host Molly Qerim all weighed in, offering their perspectives on the unfolding drama.


Stephen A Smith at IST



The WNBA drama bled into Monday and was the first topic of discussion on ESPN’s “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith.

Smith suggested that jealousy among WNBA players towards Clark’s spotlight since her debut in the league could be fueled by race, highlighting a potentially sensitive and significant aspect of the discussion.

“There are girls – young ladies – in the WNBA who are jealous of Caitlin Clark. She is a White girl that has come into the league,” Smith said. “She has bursted onto the scene. She hasn’t proven herself yet. It’s not even about them thinking they’re better than her because they probably know it at this particular juncture because they’ve been playing on a level she just arrived to.

Smith delved deeper into the source of resentment, emphasizing the years of hard work, dedication, and commitment put in by WNBA players to elevate the league’s profile. He suggested that some players might feel their efforts were overshadowed by Clark’s rapid success, which could lead to feelings of frustration and resentment towards her.

Smith implied that it would be wise for individuals to recognize and appreciate Caitlin Clark’s talent and success, leveraging it to their advantage. Rather than resenting her achievements, he suggested that players could use her presence to elevate the competition and support her while still competing fiercely on the court.


Caitlin Clark guars a Liberty player

Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever defends against the New York Liberty on June 2, 2024, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.




Smith expressed that his concern wasn’t solely focused on Carter’s past actions or the specific play in question but rather on placing the entire situation into perspective. He aimed to provide a broader understanding of the circumstances surrounding the incident and its implications within the context of the league and the players involved.

Smith acknowledged the complexities of the situation, recognizing that the player involved, Caitlin Clark, has become a prominent figure in the WNBA. He noted that while there was a report of Clark initiating contact with an elbow, there were also other actions leading up to the incident, including name-calling and physical contact. Smith emphasized the importance of considering the context of competitive play while refraining from exaggerating the incident’s significance.

Smith highlighted the need to acknowledge and appreciate the level of animosity directed towards Caitlin Clark, who is being promoted as the ‘golden girl’ of the WNBA, especially considering her race. He emphasized the importance of recognizing the potential hostility that exists within the league towards a white player who is receiving significant attention and promotion.

Despite Chennedy Carter’s foul being upgraded from a common foul to a flagrant-1 violation on Sunday, no further disciplinary action was taken against her.

Carter raised questions on Threads regarding Caitlin Clark’s skill set beyond her prowess in 3-point shooting, particularly after Clark declined to address the specific play in question.

Caitlin Clark reacts

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark reacts after scoring against the Seattle Storm, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Indianapolis.

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