Caitlin Clark, WNBA, Indiana Fever

Foul On Caitlin Clark Upgraded To Flagrant; Chennedy Carter Blasted By Media

The shoulder check heard 'round the world has resulted in a Flagrant 1 foul for Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter. But that seems to be the least of the blowback for Carter, who threw the shoulder into Indiana Fever star Caitlin Clark, who has single-handedly lifted the WNBA to new heights in her first month as a pro.

The incident occurred Saturday in the Fever's 71-70 victory in the first-ever Commander's Cup game. It also was the first-ever WNBA game between Clark and Sky forward Angel Reese. That was supposed to be the highlight of the day.

Instead, it was Carter mouthing something nasty to an unsuspecting Clark before sending her to the ground. Reese, by the way, was seen cheering after the play.

All of it was part of the grotesque and sad jealousy over Clark making its way around the league. Clark, for her part, is just playing basketball and doing a nice job as the No. 1 overall pick. She's off to a strong start on a lousy team after a banner career at Iowa — in which she became college basketball's all-time leading scorer.

The media attention has made her sort of the Taylor Swift of the WNBA. And too many other players are having a hard time with that.

But for context, the WNBA drew fewer fans than NBA G League games before this season. Clark's presence has changed all that.

Fever GM Lin Dunn reacted strongly to the play involving Carter and Clark, which appeared late in the third quarter.

"It needs to stop! The league needs to "clean up" the crap!" Dunn wrote on X. "That's NOT who this league is!!"

Many others have come to Clark's defense, including heavy-hitting ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith.

"There are girls - young ladies - in the WNBA who are jealous of Caitlin Clark. She is a White girl that has come into the league," Smith said, via Fox News. "She has burst onto the scene. She hasn't proven herself yet. It's not even about them thinking they're better than her. They probably know it at this particular juncture because they've been playing on a level she just arrived at.

"Where the resentment comes in is the hard work, the commitment, the dedication, the pounding of the pavement, the being on the grind all of these years trying to uplift this brand that is the WNBA and is women's professional basketball and all of their efforts were in vain until this girl comes along and takes the league by storm, takes the sport by form in college and has accomplished in a short period of time what they haven't been able to.

"One would think that folks would be smart enough to recognize and appreciate that about Caitlin Clark - piggyback off of that to their benefit and praise her and support her for it while competing on the court against her."

Yeah, one would think. So pull it together, ladies. You don't have to like Caitlin Clark. But you darn well should appreciate what she's doing for your pocketbooks.