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Caitlin Clark responds to bigotry in WNBA audience: ‘People should not be using my name to push those agendas’

Amid discourse around the rookie phenom, the Fever got their fourth win of the season

As discourse around Indiana Fever rookie and women’s basketball phenom Caitlin Clark grows louder, some of the discussion has taken an uglier turn into racism and misogyny directed at the rest of the WNBA.

On Thursday, Clark refuted that language, saying that she does not want her name used in that context.

“Everybody in our world deserves the same amount of respect. The women in our league deserve the same amount of respect,” Clark said in response to a question from The Athletic’s James Boyd. “People should not be using my name to push those agendas.”

Clark’s response came after an answer to a question asked by The Athletic’s Jim Trotter earlier on Thursday, in which Clark said that her name being weaponized is out of her control.

“I’m just here to play basketball,” Clark said.

The answer, which some perceived as dismissive of the bigotry pervasive in the conversation, prompted criticism, including from Connecticut Sun guard Dijonai Carrington, who posted about the response on X.

“How one can not be bothered by their name being used to justify racism, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia & the intersectionalities of them all is nuts,” Carrington wrote. “We all have a platform. We all have a voice & they all hold weight. Silence is a luxury.”

Boyd asked Clark the more specific question, relating to racism and misogyny, soon after Carrington’s post. There, the former Iowa guard was more clear.

“Just treating every single woman in this league with the same amount of respect I think is just a basic human thing that everybody should do,” Clark said. “I think it’s very simple.”

Clark has had to deal with a lot of noise since joining the WNBA in April, most recently around her being left off the Team USA Olympic roster — a perceived snub to many of her fans. Clark herself said that she sees being left off the team as “something to work for.”

On Thursday night, Clark and the Fever won their fourth game of the season with a 91–84 victory over the Atlanta Dream. Clark scored seven points on 3-for-11 shooting, adding four rebounds and six assists. Aliyah Boston led Indiana with 27 points and 13 rebounds, followed by Kelsey Mitchell’s 24 points.