BREAKING: The WNBA organizers have officially spoken out and initiated an investigation into players involved in dirty plays involving physical contact with Caitlin Clark and others. These players face potential permanent bans and disciplinary actions, exciting fans.

BREAKING: The WNBA organizers have officially spoken out and initiated an investigation into players involved in dirty plays involving physical contact with Caitlin Clark and others. These players face potential permanent bans and disciplinary actions, exciting fans.

The flagrant foul Chicago Sky G Chennedy Carter delivered to Indiana Fever G Caitlin Clark on Saturday “gave fuel to the growing discourse around Clark and the WNBA,” as the play “prompted the collision of too many atoms that were already active,” according to Cassandra Negley of YAHOO SPORTS. Clark is “almost undeniably” the most well-known name to enter the league, meaning many people are watching the WNBA for the first time. That also results in “media personalities talking about it for the first time, and their takes aren’t always rooted in historical knowledge.”

Meanwhile, players are “faced with media coverage and criticism they’ve rarely received at this level.” Carter’s foul “was cheap, even within the accepted reality of physical W basketball.” However, Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon cut off postgame questions for Carter “that offered the player an opportunity to explain the incident in her own words.” At the same time, Sky F Angel Reese declined to speak with the media. In the “absence of context from the players themselves, the controversy spread further.”

It “opened up room for people, some of whom have never watched women’s basketball but saw a clip on their social-media timeline, to fill in their own assumptions and misguided claims about intent.” Negley: “Cheap shot aside, though, the league could use the beef. It used to market itself as the ‘144,’ a nod to the number of roster spots. It now wants to lean into rivalries and marketing superstars, because that’s how sports work” (YAHOO SPORTS, 6/3).

Caitlin Clark BODYCHECKED by Chennedy Carter - who appears to yell 'you  b***h' before lashing out - and escapes with just a personal foul as  Indiana Fever play Chicago Sky | Daily

ANY PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY? In Chicago, Paul Sullivan wrote Carter’s foul against Clark was a “defining moment for the WNBA,” which now has a “window of opportunity to get massive publicity” with the NBA playoffs in an intermission before the NBA Finals begin Thursday. This kind of controversy can “help fuel the league’s growth, as any publicity is good publicity.” The foul became a “trending topic on social media, was discussed during a ‘Good Morning America’ segment on Sunday and helped make the Sky-Fever into a true rivalry.” Sullivan wrote jealousy from Clark’s fellow WNBA players “for lifting the league into another stratosphere with her fame and talent level is obvious” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/3).

THE ATHLETIC’s Jon Greenberg writes it is “natural that opposing players are tired of hearing pundits (professional and otherwise) tell them they should be thankful for Clark, a rookie who is not on their team.” It is “inarguable” that Clark and Reese have “brought more attention to a league that has struggled gain a foothold in a crowded national sporting conversation.” The merits of that attention have “come with discussions about race.” When it comes to marketability, the league itself has “often been the issue, not the quality of the players.” There is “no arguing” that the WNBA has been “gifted a blessing with the likes of Clark and Reese and with a new spotlight on how competitive this league really is,” and “everyone will have to adapt to the changing times.” Players will “have to deal with the scrutiny.” Reporters, TV hosts and the rest of media will “have to learn the league” (THE ATHLETIC, 6/4).

Watch moment Mystics center Dolson smacks Caitlin Clark's arm

: In S.F., Scott Ostler wrote the reaction to the foul “not only showed how much new attention is being focused on the league this season,” it was also a “marker of the advancement of women’s sports in general.” Ostler: “People are watching! People care! The league that has been fighting for recognition for decades seems to be picking up some steam, part of a general rise in women’s sports.” Ostler asked: “When was the last time all the folks around the proverbial office water cooler, or at the barber shop and the beauty salon, were heatedly debating an incident in a regular-season game in a woman’s sport?” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/3). YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel wrote in a “pure business sense,” WNBA players “should love Caitlin Clark for the sponsorship money, fan attention and media coverage she is bringing to a league that failed to truly break through in over a quarter century of existence.” Wetzel: “What Clark brings, undoubtedly, is attention. If this happens a year ago, with another player, then only the diehard fans even know. Or care” (YAHOO SPORTS, 6/3).

Caitlin Clark WNBA Controversy, Explained

TAKE THE GOOD WITH THE BAD: In Chicago, Steve Greenberg wrote the WNBA and its players “want a bigger, better image — to be seen, to be respected, to be taken as seriously as other leagues — but not the occasional criticism and discomfort that inherently comes with it.” Greenberg: “It’s not that teams and players don’t want to be covered by the media. They do, they should, and they deserve to be. But some of them just don’t know how to receive that coverage, not when it isn’t fawning.” It was fine if Carter did not explain herself on Saturday, but it was “weak sauce.” It was the “sort of soft move we delightful folks in the media would rip another athlete in a different sport for without blinking.” Greenberg: “If Carter could do nothing but clam up about her incident with Clark when asked after the game, why would she then run to social media and put a torch to the controversy.” Greenberg added “even lamer was rookie Angel Reese ducking out altogether on her postgame obligations to the media that were negotiated with the league and apply to all players” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/2).

LEAGUE NOT DOING ITS JOB: In Toronto, Dave Feschuk wrote Clark has “simultaneously placed a target on her back” in “putting the WNBA on her modest shoulders.” The league retroactively upgraded the call to flagrant 1 status, but a one-game suspension for Carter “would have better relayed an important message: The sellout crowds are coming to see Clark take shots, not body blows.” Feschuk: “If you just invested $150 million, you might want to be assured by the commissioner that this isn’t something else entirely. You might want to be assured this isn’t a league that’s never employed a megastar of Clark’s stature and is a long way from figuring out how to maximize her shine. Luckily, there’s still plenty of time to prove otherwise” (TORONTO STAR, 6/4). In Pittsburgh, Mark Madden wrote Clark is “straight and white” as she is a rookie but has been “presented as the savior of women’s basketball.” Carter’s foul was “bad but hardly extreme.” Similar fouls are “perpetrated frequently in basketball” but are “not shown on ‘SportsCenter’ over and over because they don’t happen to Clark.” Going viral “fuels discontent toward Clark.” Her benefit to WNBA players is “not yet tangible” and has yet to put “money in their pockets.” Clark’s “haters within the WNBA” see her “in a vulnerable position with a bad team.” Madden: “It’s still amazing that the WNBA had so much time to think about what to do with Clark and still put her in the most difficult situation possible” (, 6/3).

Caitlin Clark, physical play and questions about fouls dominating  discussions around the WNBA |

EDITORIAL BOARD SPEAKS UP: A CHICAGO TRIBUNE editorial stated the foul committed by Carter was “egregious” and it “would have been seen as an assault” outside of the sports realm. Clark has “done nothing to deserve this other than bringing attention to her sport and playing it superbly well.” Clark’s shoulder “rests more pressure than most if not all other players in the league are feeling.” She has to “compete on her own merits,” but basketball has rules and if the WNBA “chews her up and spits her out because it is too afraid of being called racist to protect her from racially tinged animosity, or indeed from fouls such as the one Carter committed, it will have done a huge disservice to its own game” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/3).PART OF A MUCH DEEPER CONVERSATION: THE ATHLETIC’s Jim Trotter wrote the “pearl-clutching that has followed” the Clark-Carter incident is as “exhausting as it is nauseating.” Trotter rhetorically asked if the Chicago Tribune wrote an editorial when Reese earlier this season was slammed to the court by Sun F Alyssa Thomas and Thomas was thus ejected. Trotter: “Why not? But a hip check deserves commentary and is likened to a crime in a city that has had more than enough problems with street violence? Make it make sense.” The focus on Clark has “always been about more than basketball” and has passed that “mile marker a long time ago.” Clark has become a “proxy in discussions/arguments about race, culture, privilege and entitlement” (THE ATHLETIC, 6/3). In D.C., Candace Buckner writes the foul is “being magnified as incriminating evidence that brutish Black women are jealous of the league’s supposed savior, and therefore would rather manhandle her than show appreciation.” Every layer peeled from the Carter-Clark episode “reveals not only the shallowness of sports commentators when they’re forced to discuss women’s sports … but also the divisiveness so quickly seized upon in our society.” Buckner: “Because Clark is the linchpin drawing sellout crowds and groundbreaking ratings — the marketable star with the agreeable skin color and sexuality — her plight carries a sympathetic bent with her most loyal audience”

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