Dan Le Batard expresses his belief that Caitlin Clark controversies are good for the WNBA. Screen grab: ‘The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz’

At this point, it’s clear Caitlin Clark is a magnet for controversy — even though the Indiana Fever star rookie hasn’t even said or done anything that could be considered controversial.

The latest Clark controversy comes in the form of her being left off the Team USA roster for the 2024 Summer Olympics. That follows the controversy in which she was subjected to a hard foul, which followed the controversy in which she was subjected to Gregg Doyel’s uncomfortable behavior at her introductory press conference.

And that’s just been since the start of her WNBA career.

But while there has been plenty to debate regarding Clark dating back to her emergence as college basketball’s biggest star — men’s or women’s — at Iowa, what isn’t up for debate is that she has helped grow the profile of women’s basketball exponentially. And according to Dan Le Batard, such controversies have aided those efforts, keeping Clark — and the sport — constants in the news cycle.

“Outrage is good for the sport. All of this is good for the sport,” Le Batard said on Tuesday’s episode of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “Welcome the idiots and have more in the tent.”

It would be tough to argue Le Batard’s point, at least in terms of eyeballs and ratings. Oftentimes in sports, it’s just as important to be interesting as it is great, and as the recent ratings have shown, Clark certainly qualifies as both.

Still, there’s some push and pull with the way women’s basketball is now being covered and Le Batard’s use of the term “idiots” wasn’t complimentary. While the newfound exposure for the league has obviously been welcomed thus far, it’s fair to wonder the potential effects of Clark being covered on morning shows in the same manner as LeBron James and the Dallas Cowboys.

“I don’t know if it’s good for the sport for there to be this much pressure on one player,” producer/co-host Jessica Smetana responded to Le Batard. “I would hope that if there are new eyeballs on the Fever because of Caitlin Clark, they’re also then going to expand and be interested in the sport itself, not just the player itself.”

Time will tell whether that will prove to be the case. In the meantime, it shouldn’t be too long until the next inevitable Clark-related controversy.

[The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.