Caitlin Clark Shamed for Being ‘White, Straight, and From Iowa’

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Honestly, I'd never even heard of Caitlin Clark until more than a month ago when I was visiting my childhood home and wound up watching the LSU-Iowa game with my father. During the game — the first college basketball game I'd watched ever — my dad pointed out Caitlin Clark and praised her as a star player who'd broken all sorts of records and was bound for the WNBA.


Sure enough, he was right, and now it seems I hear about Caitlin Clark all the time — including the controversy of her five-figure salary at the WNBA, which pales in comparison to the lowest salaries of star players in the league that people actually watch: the NBA.

But I digress. It was clear that Clark's talent had generated interest in women's basketball, including the WNBA. This is arguably a good thing because, right or wrong, the WNBA continues to struggle to attract interest from sports fans.

Naturally, the interest that Clark has generated in the WNBA has triggered the liberal media because of identity politics.

"Women’s basketball has never seen anything like Caitlin Clark, the sweet-shooting rookie guard for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever," writes Los Angeles Times staff writer Kevin Baxter. "She’s Taylor Swift with a jump shot, Mia Hamm in a singlet; a figure so transcendent she is changing her profession."

Baxter went on to note that more than 55,000 people showed up to watch her play a practice game last fall, her final college game drew 24 million TV viewers this spring, and more than three million people tuned into ESPN to watch her get drafted.

All good things, right? Not according to Baxter. He laments that Serena Williams's final tennis match got less than a third of the audience as Clark's final college game, and her $28 million sponsorship with Nike in 2024 is more than ten times Michael Jordan’s first deal with Nike 40 years ago. He didn't account for inflation, by the way.


While these certainly aren't apples-to-apples comparisons, they nevertheless are worth celebrating as tremendous achievements, not just for Caitlin Clark, but for women's athletics. Sadly, Baxter couldn't help himself.

But Clark, who will lead the Fever against the Sparks on Friday at Arena, also stands out for who she’s not. In a league in which approximately 70% of the players are Black, nearly a third identify as LGBTQ and most come from urban environments, Clark is white, straight, and from Iowa.

And that sets her apart even more than her shooting skills.

“We would all be very naive if we didn’t say race and her sexuality played a role in her popularity,” said Hill, now a contributing writer at the Atlantic and host of the “Jemele Hill is Unbothered” podcast. “While so many people are happy for Caitlin’s success — including the players; this has had such an enormous impact on the game — there is a part of it that is a little problematic because of what it says about the worth and the marketability of the players who are already there.”

Nicole Melton, co-director of the Laboratory for Inclusion and Diversity in Sport at the University of Massachusetts, agrees.

“Cailtin fits a very comfortable narrative for a lot of people in the United States,” she said. “She comes from the heartland. She’s an amazing talent. She’s also a white, straight woman, right? There’s not a lot of things that would make people feel uncomfortable with that person being successful.”


Caitlin Clark sure has some nerve to be straight, white, and not from the inner city. She also stood for the National Anthem, so she obviously doesn't hate America. How dare she!  The identity-obsessed once again proves itself to be insufferable, as if the only women who deserve to be successful have to be black or the latest version of Megan Rapinoe. 

I know nothing about Caitlin Clark, but from what I can tell, she appears to just want to play the game to the best of her ability, not be an activist, and not complain. Perhaps if more players focused on playing on the court rather than preaching from their soapboxes, they'd be more popular with the public.


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