Chicago Sky vs. Indiana Fever live updates: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese meet again, Clark involved in chippy play

INDIANAPOLIS — Athletes often speak in generalities as a defense mechanism. Rather than go in-depth on a potentially controversial topic, or even address the issue at all, they provide non-answers, using cliches and pre-programmed talking points to stay at a safe distance.

A part of me would like to believe that that’s what Caitlin Clark did Thursday morning when I asked if she was bothered by fans using her name as a weapon in the culture wars dividing the country. The Indiana Fever’s star guard didn’t close the door on the subject; she refused to even open it.

“No,” she declared. “I don’t see it. I don’t see it. That’s not where my focus is. 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 backtracked five hours later, telling reporters that “people should not be using my name to push those agendas,” but the damage had already been done. Connecticut Sun wing DiJonai Carrington was among those who spoke out against her initial comments, saying on X: “Dawg, how one can not be bothered by their name being used to justify racism, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia & the intersectionalities of them all is nuts. We all see the sh*t. We all have a platform. We all have a voice & they all hold weight. Silence is a luxury.

It’s not surprising that Clark would initially attempt to avoid the topic. She’s a rookie struggling to find her way on a new team in a new league, at a time when the shots that fell so consistently in college are now missing the mark with greater frequency. Instead of being the go-to closer, which contributed to her massive popularity at Iowa, she sometimes is on the bench in the waning moments because of turnover issues.

But you don’t get to hide behind basketball when you’ve been anointed the transcendent, rising tide who will lift the WNBA to greater prosperity. And you definitely don’t get to do so when people are using your name as a means of pushing racism, misogyny, homophobia and other societal ills. To whom much is given, much is required, indeed.

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Caitlin Clark eventually got it right, but she needs to consider the agenda around her name

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