Caitlin Clark

Caitlin Clark disappointed in recent non-basketball discourse surrounding WNBA

Clark says she hasn't seen the discourse of her game against the Sky in the WNBA on social media

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The Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever game on June 1 proved to be a chippy matchup, with Sky players Angel Reese and Chennedy Carter taking a few cheap shots at Caitlin Clark en route to their 71-70 loss.

"They're just competing. All they're doing is competing," Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon said after the game.

But the incident sparked a larger conversation on social media; one injected with themes of race, privilege, right versus wrong in basketball and the products of the rising interest and coverage in women's basketball.

Clark expressed her remaining focus on basketball after the game. But she also mentioned the feeling of having a target on her back but trying to keep calm and not retaliate.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently spoke on the subject. He said the physicality is "nothing new" in the game and called it one of her "welcome to the league" moments.

Still, the discourse rages on in social media. The rising popularity of women's basketball, paired with the questionably physical play of the game, sparked a huge conversation online.

But Clark is staying away from it.

"I'm not on social media so I don't see a lot of it," Clark said when asked if she's seen discourse about the game as a whole. "But you'd be surprised, like I still have my TV on in my house, like I'm watching sports. You're still aware of it and you still see it. Other than that, my focus is basketball."

Clark further elaborated on her disappointment in the talk. She'd prefer the conversation remain about basketball, but also sees the overall engagement as a positive, not spinning the attention into a negative.

"Sometimes it stinks how much the conversation is outside of basketball and not the product on the floor, the amazing players that are on the floor, how good they are for their teams and how great this season has been for women's basketball from college basketball to the WNBA," Clark said. "Some of the crowds are unprecedented and have never been seen before. The viewership is amazing."

Overall, the increasing popularity and attention of women's basketball are outstanding. As a byproduct of the players' popularity, they're seeing the benefits. One strong example is the WNBA's $25 million deal to have charter flights for all teams this season --- the first of its kind in women's basketball.

However, the incident has drawn negative attention to the league and the players involved. But instead of fighting against it, Clark chooses to stay on the sidelines; or more accurately, on the court.

"But yeah, "I try to block it out. I don't have social media on my phone. I don't go on it, I don't see a lot of it ," Clark said. "I don't really think it's that different from when I was in college. Everybody's gonna have their own opinion. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion. That's just what it is.

"I think you just gotta be focused on what's in your locker room, what's in your organization, how your teammates feel, how your coaches feel. And for me that's my focus. But also like, I have a job to do at the same time. That's where my focus remains."

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