Report – Caitlin Clark explains why she wants to depart from the Indiana Fever…

Report - Caitlin Clark explains why she wants to depart from the Indiana Fever...

Why the Caitlin Clark-Chennedy Carter incident has struck such a chord with the public

At a certain point, with all the tinder lying about, a spark was bound to set fire.

Chennedy Carter was the flint. Caitlin Clark was the stone. And days later, the landscape is still raging with ever-growing flames.

It’s true that Carter’s shoulder check on Clark was not a basketball play. It’s also true that type of competitive physicality happens in basketball, and especially in the WNBA, quite a bit. If things were different, if history were more kind to women’s athletic and professional endeavors, it could have stayed a moment in the season’s timeline. A video to put in the bucket for a rivalry feature.

Instead, it gave fuel to the growing discourse around Clark and the WNBA. The same way leaders have described the rising tide in women’s basketball that resulted in another sold-out crowd watching Clark’s Indiana Fever defeat Carter’s Chicago Sky on Saturday afternoon, the play in question prompted the collision of too many atoms that were already active.

Without a doubt, Clark is the most well-known player to join the 28-year-old WNBA. There have been many more superstars, but none of them have been able to break into the league through national TV ads and grocery store window stickers. The only players that could come close are the original group from 1996, including Sheryl Swoopes, Rebecca Lobo, Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper, etc. As a result, a large number of individuals are viewing the WNBA for the first time. Some celebrities are discussing it for the first time, and their opinions aren’t necessarily based on historical context. At this level, players are subjected to criticism and media attention that they are not used to.

Carter’s shoulder check was cheap, even within the accepted reality of physical W basketball. It was clear it wasn’t a basketball play, nor was it necessary. Referees often go to the monitors to review for possible upgrades on lesser, more incidental acts, and befuddling technical calls could be considered a WNBA hallmark. The flagrant should have been assessed for “unnecessary contact,” and we should have all moved on.

Three players were given fouls prior to Saturday’s match, but the calls were upgraded during in-game reviews. On the first night of play, Mercury guard Kahleah Copper was given a flagrant 1 for shoving Kelsey Plum in the face. When defending a deep transition 3-pointer, Sparks player Aari McDonald fouled Clark, but the call was raised to a flagrant 1 for “reckless closeout.” When Alyssa Thomas shoved Angel Reese to the ground during a chance to get a rebound, she received the previously highest-profile flagrant of the season and was sent out with a flagrant 2.

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