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Caitlin Clark wants people to stop using her to push their agendas

Caitlin Clark has condemned some of the rhetoric since starting her WNBA career earlier this year, saying it’s “disappointing” to see her name being used as a weapon of racism and misogyny.

Since joining the WNBA, Clark’s treatment has been a constant topic of opinion pieces and discussion shows across politics and sports, with some commentators such as Jason Whitlock alleging that she has been attacked by opposing players because of her race and sexual orientation.

But the Fever rookie said she is being used by some people who are trying to push racist and misogynistic ideas because of their disrespect for the WNBA superstar.

Head coaches Christy Sides and Caitlin Clark celebrate following the Fever’s 85-83 win over the Mystics last week. Getty Images

“It’s unfortunate,” Clark said before Thursday’s game between the Fever and the Dream. “Everybody in this world deserves the same respect. The women in this league deserve the same respect. My name should not be used to push that kind of argument. It’s unfortunate. It’s unacceptable. This is a league that I’ve looked up to and wanted to be a part of since I was a kid.

“Some of the women in this league were some of my biggest idols and role models growing up and helped me want to achieve this moment to be able to play here every night. Treating every woman in this league with the same respect is a basic human act that everyone should do. Just be a kind person and treat them the way you would want to be treated.”

Clark has been caught up in the culture war on all sides since making her WNBA debut last month, and the topic has become even more prominent.

A high-profile incident earlier this month in which Clark was subjected to a hard foul by Sky player Chennedy Carter sparked a national debate over how Clark was being treated by other players.

The debate has drawn input from everyone from sports commentators like Stephen A. Smith to politicians like U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, who was compelled to write a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

A new uproar erupted last weekend when Clark was left out of the U.S. national team for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Clark’s comments during pregame interviews on Thursday were more direct than those he made when asked a similar question earlier in the day.

Indiana Fever player Caitlin Clark (No. 22) steals a pass during the first quarter of a game against the Washington Mystics at Capital One Arena on June 7, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Caitlin Clark steals a pass during the Fever’s win over the Mystics. Getty Images

“It’s not something I can control, so I try not to think too much or spend too much time on that sort of thing.” Clark saysabout the conversations surrounding her in general, “I haven’t really been watching it much, to be honest. Like I said, basketball is my job. Everything on the outside is out of my control, so I’m not going to spend time thinking about it.”

“People can talk about whatever they want and have conversations about whatever they want, but for me, I’m just here to play basketball.”

In her comments, Clark also denied that she felt the furore had affected her ability to build relationships within the WNBA, saying the league felt “excited and appreciative of all the attention we’re receiving.”