Caitlin Clark’s main ‘privilege’ is one of talent

by Admin
Caitlin Clark's main 'privilege' is one of talent

Whoopi Goldberg and Sonny Hostin of “The View” have not been helping the Women’s National Basketball Association nor its most famous star, Caitlin Clark. Nor have they been doing right by the Chicago Sky’s Chennedy Carter or any of the other fine athletes deservedly and belatedly getting the attention they have long deserved.

“I do think there is a thing called pretty privilege,” Hostin said May 23 on the talk show, suggesting there is more to Clark’s fame and paycheck than her extraordinary record at the University of Iowa. “There is a thing called white privilege. There is a thing called tall privilege.”

Sure. When it comes to the game of basketball, though, all of those are eclipsed by talent privilege, which is why fans shell out the big bucks to watch professional games played by women and men, of all races, rather than just standing courtside at the local park. Moreover, those who have talent privilege, just like “pretty privilege,” “white privilege” and “tall privilege,” cannot do a darn thing about their gifts, beyond being humble, appreciative of their fans and family, and paying forward their good fortune.

For Clark on Saturday, all of those alleged privileges turned into an undeserved target on her back.

The foul committed by Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter was egregious. Outside of a sporting contest, it would have been seen as an assault. Even within a sporting context, it was bad: before the ball even was inbounded, Carter came up from behind Clark, shoving her at the hip and knocking her over. Lip readers simultaneously construed a five-letter epithet dancing on the Sky player’s lips. She should have been ejected from the game.

Let’s be clear. Clark has done nothing to deserve this other than bringing attention to her sport and playing it superbly well. All of her public pronouncements have been supportive of her sport, her fellow players and her many mentors and idols (Black and white). A large influx of fans are tuning into the sport for the first time, mainly due to the Clark effect (although Sky rookie Angel Reese and some others are drawing notice as well). Sure, players on competing teams have no obligation to go easy on Clark, and you might argue that some jealousy is inevitable, but the Saturday incident went beyond any of that, especially since Carter’s teammate Reese appeared to applaud the foul.

None other than Charles Barkley, America’s unofficial secretary of common sense, called out the league’s players not named Caitlin Clark two weeks ago, well before Saturday. “Y’all should be thanking that girl for getting y’all … private charters,” he said. “All the money and visibility she’s bringing to the WNBA. Don’t be petty like dudes. What she’s accomplished — give her her flowers. Stop being petty all you women out there.”

Games can get heated, and if Carter had apologized and said some version of, look, I’m competitive and I got carried away, we’d be more sympathetic. But, in fact, she doubled down on X, effectively deriding Clark as nothing but a 3-point shooter. At the news conference after the game, Carter said, in answer to a softball request to explain what happened with Clark, “I ain’t answering no Caitlin Clark questions,” as if she were not under any obligation to do so when, in fact, she should have offered an apology. Reese did not even show up for the post-game news conference, for which she was fined $1,000 by the league and the Sky was fined an additional $5,000. Sky coach Teresa Witherspoon apologized on Carter’s behalf Monday afternoon. Not before time.

On Sunday, when the Indiana Fever played again in New York, all of this appeared to be having an effect on Clark, who looked to be off her game. Who would not be? She must be wishing she were back in Iowa City.

On Monday, Goldberg indefensively defended Carter on “The View” with “Get over yourselves, they’re athletes.”

They also are human beings and, in Clark’s case, a rookie player on whose shoulder rests more pressure than most if not all other players in the league are feeling. She has to compete on her own merits, but basketball has rules and if the WNBA chews her up and spits her out because it is too afraid of being called racist to protect her from racially tinged animosity, or indeed from fouls such as the one Carter committed, it will have done a huge disservice to its own game, now at a major inflection point, thanks in no small measure to, yes, Clark. It’s also incumbent among the experienced WNBA players to nip this nonsense in the bud, before it’s too late.

As for Goldberg and Hostin? Enough with the privilege talk and get-over-it nonsense and start calling this behavior out for what everyone could see it to be.

Something not to be repeated.

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