June 14, 2024 

‘People should not be using my name to push those agendas’: Caitlin Clark speaks to those weaponizing her name

Despite a rare Indiana Fever victory on Thursday evening, the story of the day became responses from media availabilities hours prior to tip

Caitlin Clark is undoubtedly the biggest name in women’s basketball – and maybe in basketball, period. But with the outpour of positive attention comes scrutiny, and much of it has nothing to do with her play on the basketball court. 

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On Thursday afternoon, that was exactly the case. At shootaround prior to the Indiana Fever’s matchup against the Atlanta Dream, Clark was asked about her name being “weaponized” in non-basketball related situations. She initially responded by declaring her focus on basketball, noting that she doesn’t see a lot of this occurring, because it’s not where her attention lies. 

“It’s not something I can control, so I don’t put too much thought and time into it,” she said. “To be honest, I don’t see a lot of it.”

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The varying narratives surrounding Clark have been constant for the last few years, but they’ve grown exponentially since her arrival to the pros. Every day, no matter the topic, a quote from Clark goes viral on social media. Following this response, fans, reporters and even current WNBA players had a lot to say.

“Dawg. 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. We all see the sh*t. We all have a platform. We all have a voice & they all hold weight. Silence is a luxury,” Connecticut Sun guard DiJonai Carrington wrote on Twitter/X. 

At a pregame availability shortly after Carrington’s post, the media asked Clark a similar question. This time they focused on her response to situations where her name is used for racist and misogynistic purposes. 

“It’s disappointing,” Clark said. “Everybody in our world deserves to have the same amount of respect. The women in our league deserve the same amount of respect. People should not be using my name to push those agendas. It’s disappointing. It’s not acceptable.” 

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Despite her pushing back against the slew of social media users who have used her name to push hatred, the general public was still divided in opinion. While some appreciated the thoughtful answer, others were pushing for her to voice more in response. 

“That’s the statement that I think a lot of people in the women’s sports world were waiting for,” Chiney Ogwumike said on Get Up Friday morning. “Her name has truly been weaponized and I do realize that the conversation around her is something that she cannot control, but she can control how she has the power to direct it. In the last comment, she’s directing it towards a little more positivity and setting the record straight.”

Clark is faced with an unimaginable amount of pressure, not just to perform on the court but to always say the right thing. This, frankly, is an impossible task.

“Sometimes it feels like the weight of the WNBA is on her shoulders,” Sue Bird said on the Rich Eisen Show. “That is both a compliment and warranted in a lot of ways, but also may be a little bit unfair to put so much on her.”

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Written by Talia Goodman

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