Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser talk Caitlin Clark Credit: Pardon the Interruption on ESPN

Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser agreed on Monday’s episode of Pardon the Interruption that Caitlin Clark was not qualified for Team USA, but differed on whether Clark should have made the squad anyway. Their takes offered a more concrete argument around the marketing versus fairness debate that enveloped ESPN throughout the day after Clark was denied a spot on the women’s national basketball team.

Wilbon claimed Clark is not close to one of the 12 most talented American WNBA players, meaning she did not deserve a spot on the team. The longtime sports journalist even mentioned fellow journalists Stephen A. Smith and Christine Brennan by name to criticize their position that Clark should be in Paris this summer.

“The point is not to grow the game, the point is to win the games,” Wilbon said. “The Olympic team is about who deserves to be there. She does not deserve to be there … she can go in the future. She will earn the right to go to the Olympics, probably in four years. Now, she is not close to deserving.”

Kornheiser picked up Smith’s point from First Take earlier Monday, making what he called a “marketing opinion” that Olympics broadcaster NBC should be “livid” about Clark’s exclusion.

“Do I think she deserves it? No … but I think we’re going to win anyway,” Kornheiser said. “I think it’s marketing. I honestly believe it’s a marketing issue.”

Smith made the case for Clark to be on Team USA this summer to bolster the marketing of the squad as well, but made it personal when he told First Take guests Andraya Carter and Chiney Ogwumike they would be “underpaid” unless they figured out the realities of marketing.

Colin Cowherd called the decision a “missed layup” for women’s basketball on The Herd.

Everything around Clark is hotly debated and strongly felt these days. But at least Wilbon and Kornheiser brought a strong argument to the table here.

[Pardon the Interruption on ESPN]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.