Adam Silver: ‘Societal issues’ can’t be ignored regarding Caitlin Clark’s WNBA treatment

    NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes that “societal issues” are driving most of the outrage regarding the treatment of WNBA star Caitlin Clark.  

    “Some having to do with race, and they’re very apparent,” Silver said during media availability on Thursday ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

    Silver avoided getting into specifics about Clark or the recent flagrant foul committed by Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter. However, he continued highlighting that the problem goes far beyond the basketball court, adding that sports also provide the perfect place to discuss these topics.

    “I think sports, historically, has been a platform for people to talk directly about these issues. I don’t think we should hide from them,” Silver said.

    Clark was already a polarizing figure before entering the WNBA. However, since her arrival, controversy over her treatment and potential jealousy from other players have drawn extreme reactions from both sides.

    Some, like former All-Star Rebecca Lobo, scoffed at the notion that Carter and other players were targeting Clark over hatred or envy. Meanwhile, Pat McAfee of ESPN brought race into the conversation, using a derogatory term to describe Clark while disparaging the rest of the 2024 rookie class in her defense.

    The toxic discourse has already led to unfortunate yet predictable consequences. Only days after the incident with Clark, a fan confronted Carter as she was leaving the Sky team bus in Washington, D.C.

    Silver ultimately believes that extra attention greatly benefits the WNBA and its development. However, it’s clear that the issues aren’t going anywhere, and as long as they’re allowed to grow, the league is in danger of steering the focus further away from the on-court product.

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