Caitlin Clark Shatters Viewership Records, Faces Criticism Over Race and Deals

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark has brought a lot of attention to women’s college basketball as she has set records and won championships. As she gets ready for her first WNBA season, she has become one of the most watched athletes in the sport, pulling in a record-breaking 14.2 million viewers for the 2024 NCAA women’s basketball championships, an 89 percent increase from previous years.

Clark has also set numerous top records, including the college all-time scoring record. Her skill and rivalry with LSU’s Angel Reese have been big for women’s college basketball.

However, there are some who are dismissive of Clark’s achievements. Las Vegas Aces superstar A’ja Wilson, who is a two-time WNBA champion, two-time league MVP, and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, has suggested that Clark’s popularity is due to her being white. Wilson has expressed frustration, believing that the success of black women athletes is often overlooked and not seen as marketable.

This view has also been echoed by some sports columnists, with claims that Clark’s popularity is more about race than her talent. In particular, there has been criticism of the $28 million shoe deal she secured with Nike, with some arguing that it unfairly favored her over veteran black WNBA stars.

It’s worth noting that Clark’s advantages were not solely based on her race. As college athletes are now allowed to sign name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals, Clark and other athletes have been able to secure deals with advertisers that were not available to previous generations of athletes. Her college rival, Angel Reese, and teammate Flau’jae Johnson, both of whom are black, have also benefited from this new opportunity.

Ultimately, Clark’s success is due to her talent and hard work on the court. Her accomplishments speak for themselves, and it’s important to recognize the efforts and skills of all athletes, regardless of race.

Written by Staff Reports

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