WNBA legend takes issue with coverage of Caitlin Clark fouls: 'We can’t make it seem like she was assaulted'


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WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes took issue with the discourse every time Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark is fouled and pointed to what happened Sunday with Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese.

Reese clocked Clark on the head while Clark was driving to the basket for a lay-up. Reese was given a foul, and it was upgraded to a flagrant-1. It kick-started a firestorm across social media.

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Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, and Angel Reese, #5 of the Chicago Sky, look on during a game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 16, 2024 in Indianapolis. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Swoopes, who appeared on former NBA star Gilbert Arenas’ podcast “Gil’s Arena,” said fans and those talking about the WNBA cannot seem like Clark was assaulted.

“It’s the clip they wanna post because they’re gonna get all these likes and reposts, but that’s a basketball play,” Swoopes said of Reese’s foul. “She hit her on the head, so, of course, it should be upgraded to a flagrant-1 … Can we keep playing basketball?

“My thing is, every time Caitlin gets fouled we can’t make it seem like she was assaulted. Fouling is a part of basketball. You can look at a whole lot of different games and players and clips. … A’ja Wilson when they played Dallas, A’ja had a bloody nose, a black eye. Like, it’s basketball.”

Swoopes then pointed to both Reese and Clark, saying the foul was just a basketball play.

ESPN BROADCASTER TAKES SWIPE AT CAITLIN CLARK COVERAGE AFTER FOUL IN NBA FINALS

Sheryl Swoopes

San Francisco mayor London Breed chats with basketball great Sheryl Swoopes, right, following a press conference to announce an expansion WNBA franchise in the San Francisco Bay Area at Chase Center in San Francisco on Oct. 5, 2023. (D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports)

“You go to social media and, ‘Oh my goodness she’s trying to take her out, she should be suspended,’ and who are you? And what did you do?”

Reese maintained there was nothing more to the Clark foul.

“I can’t control the refs, and they affected the game, obviously, a lot tonight,” Reese said after the game. “Y’all are probably going to play that clip like 20 times before Monday.”

“I think we went up really strong a lot of times and didn’t get a lot of calls,” Reese added. “Going back and looking, I’ve seen a lot of calls that weren’t made, I guess some people get a special whistle.”

Clark downplayed the foul.

18dfe615 Caitlin Clark22

Caitlin Clark, #22 of the Indiana Fever, warms up before a game against the Chicago Sky at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 16, 2024 in Indianapolis. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

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“It is what it is, you know, she’s trying to make a play on the ball and get the block,” Clark said. “I mean it happens and then those free throws when you have to shoot with nobody at the line are kind of hard. So I was just focusing on making those free throws.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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