Jun 10, 2024; Uncasville, Connecticut, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) reacts after her third foul against the Connecticut Sun in the second quarter at Mohegan Sun Arena. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Update: The Athletic’s James Boyd asked Clark directly about people using her name toward racism and misogyny to push an agenda; what is her response to that exactly? And this is more as to what the Connecticut Sun’s Dijonai Carrington  was alluding to here:

“I think it’s disappointing,” Clark told Boyd. “I think everybody in our deserves 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. But this league is a league that I grew up admiring and wanting to be a part of.

“Some of the women in this league were my biggest idols and role models growing up, and they helped me want to achieve this moment right here that I get to play in every single night. Just treating every women in this league with the same amount of respect is I think just a basic human thing that everybody should do. Just be a kind person and treat them how you would want to be treated. I think it’s very simple.”

The original story continues below:

The mass hysteria surrounding Caitlin Clark would get back to the Indiana Fever first-year guard one way or another.

And while she has played her answers relatively close to the vest, as arguments surrounding her have been used as a vehicle to paint a broader brush, she’s a bit of a blank canvas herself, not engaging with any of the vitriol on either side of the aisle.

Thursday saw The Athletic’s Jim Trotter press Clark about her name being used in discussions unrelated to sports.

Trotter essentially pointed out that any situation involving Clark, positive or negative, seems to spark controversy. The senior NFL columnist then asked how she feels about people using her name as a pawn in their “culture wars” or other unrelated conflicts.

“It’s not something that I can control, so I don’t put too much thought and time into thinking about things like that,” Clark said. “And to be honest, I don’t see a lot of it. Like I’ve said, basketball’s my job. Everything on the outside, I can’t control that, so I’m not gonna spend time thinking about that. People can talk about what they want to talk about, creating conversations about whatever it is.

“But I think for myself; I’m just here to play basketball. I’m here to have fun. I’m trying to help our team win. Obviously, we’ve won three games, and we feel like we’ve been in a position to win a few more than that. And my focus is on helping us do that.

“I don’t pay much mind to all of that, to be honest.”

Clark’s stayed consistent in this approach, echoing similar comments she made last week.

Curious about the impact, Trotter followed up by asking how much it’s hindered her ability to form relationships within the WNBA.

“I think everybody in the league understands. One, we’re excited about all this attention we’re getting,” Clark said. “I think we’re appreciative of it. I think the league has been great for a really long time, but, you know, my focus is on my teammates. They’ve been amazing. I don’t think it’s impacted me making relationships on my team. I’m not, obviously, talking to people on other teams on a daily basis. Like, I have so much to focus on here, and getting my teammates to trust me and do all that is my main focus; same with our coaching staff; same with this organization.”

As Trotter told Clark that he understood where her focus was at, he wondered if she was bothered that people were using her name, image, and likeness to fight whatever fight they were fighting.

“No, I don’t see it,” she said. “That’s not where my focus is. Again, my focus is here and on basketball. That’s where it needs to be. That’s where it has been. And I’m just trying to get better on a daily basis.”

Clark’s ability to navigate the intense media scrutiny surrounding her will be a story to watch as her career unfolds. While she’s already been seen and used as a potential lightning rod for controversy, Clark remains laser-focused on basketball.

[James Boyd]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.