The Caitlin Clark ‘Fyre Festival’ should get a lot of people fired

They should all be fired.

By “all,” I mean everyone involved with the rollout of Caitlin Clark’s WNBA career.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert. Indiana Fever head coach Christie Sides. Fever general manager Lin Dunn. Assistant GM Hillary Spears. Director of public relations Ryan Stevens. Team water boy Bobby Boucher Jr.

Fire. All. Of. Them.

They’re a group of amateurs unprepared to take advantage of and care for the greatest gift ever handed to women’s basketball and women’s sports. They’re the architects of the Fyre Festival of basketball, a summer hoops event built around showcasing Caitlin Clark’s mastery of the game. Just like the Billy McFarland and Ja Rule music event, this Fyre Festival is going up in flames.

The people organizing it are frauds. Their collective incompetence has allowed the enemies of Clark to rattle her confidence, steal her joy, and distract her from the task of lifting the moribund league to profitability and relevance.

The level of hostility directed at Clark and the constant conversation around her persona are problematic. She’s a young woman. She’s going to break. She’s already breaking.

In my estimation, Thursday was a breaking point for Caitlin Clark. She realized she can’t extricate herself from the racial, sexual identity, and social justice quicksand the WNBA and corporate media pour at the feet of the league’s players. Thursday afternoon, before the Fever played the Atlanta Dream, reporters asked Clark a series of questions about people allegedly “weaponizing her name for racism and misogyny.”

Clark eventually bent her knee.

“I think everybody in our world deserves the same amount of respect,” she said. “The women in our league deserve the same amount of respect. So, people should not be using my name to push agendas. It’s disappointing. It’s not acceptable. … This is a league I grew up admiring and wanting to be a part of. Like some of the women of this league were my biggest idols and role models growing up and helped me want to achieve this moment right here I get to play in every single night.”

The answer seems harmless. It isn’t. It puts Clark in the same crosshairs that made Tim Tebow’s NFL career unsustainable. It defines Clark’s fans as a problem, as a distraction that stands in the way of building a winning atmosphere.

Obviously, Clark has more women’s professional basketball talent than Tebow had as an NFL quarterback. But men have thicker skin than women. The level of hostility directed at Clark and the constant conversation around her persona are more problematic. She’s a woman, a young one. She’s going to break. She’s already breaking.

Thursday night, in a victory over the Dream, she scored just seven points and turned the ball over seven times. In her last four games, she’s made just 15 of her last 44 shots. She’s averaging 12 points over the same stretch.

Why do I blame Silver, Engelbert, Sides, Dunn, and all the rest for Clark’s slide? They’ve done nothing to protect their potential superstar.

Let’s just use Thursday as an example.

Why is Caitlin Clark talking to the media before a game? Why?

This is insanity. Given the toxic and divisive conversation corporate and social media have enveloped Clark in, there is no way she should be subjected to clickbait trolls disguised as journalists before playing a game.

Clark is the biggest star in sports now. She should be handled the same way NFL teams treat franchise quarterbacks. Do you think Patrick Mahomes answers pregame questions from the alleged media? Mahomes almost never does locker room interviews. He talks at a podium with a PR staffer standing at the ready to shut down any stupidity. During the practice week, Mahomes is subjected to the media once in a highly controlled environment.

No way Clark should be standing around the court engaging in a media scrum. It’s foolish. She’s 22, she’s clickbait, and the people who pass themselves off as journalists are agenda-driven activists.

James Boyd, the reporter who asked Clark about her name being used for “racism and misogyny,” graduated from college in 2018. In the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion, he’s been microwaved from one job advancement to the next. He works for the Athletic. He got that job after a nine-month stint covering the Pacers for the Indianapolis Star. He landed the Pacers job after a six-month stint covering the University of Illinois for the 9,000-circulation Herald and Review.

Boyd’s proof that Clark’s name was being used for “racism and misogyny” was a tweet from a Connecticut Sun player who was upset that hours earlier Clark told the Athletic’s Jim Trotter that she couldn’t control how people use her name in the culture wars.

“It’s not something I can control, so I don’t put too much thought and time into thinking about things like that,” Clark said. “And to be honest, I don’t see a lot of it. … People can talk about what they want to talk about, create conversations about whatever it is … I’m just here to play basketball.”

That response, once posted on X, triggered DiJonai Carrington, a member of the Sun. She fired off a post complaining without using Clark’s name.

“Dawg. How one can not [sic] be bothered by their name being used to justify racism, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia and the intersectionalities of them all is nuts. We all see the sh*t. We all have a platform. We all have a voice and they all hold weight. Silence is a luxury.”

Are you following along?

Trotter, a longtime NFL reporter who is suing the NFL for racism, asked Clark about the culture wars. Clark responded. Her response was posted on X. Carrington used the response to subtweet and attack Clark. Boyd used Carrington’s tweet to justify telling Clark that her name was being used for racism and misogyny.

Trotter, Carrington, and Boyd are all black and very obsessed with race. Clark is white and very obsessed with basketball. Clark’s agenda is basketball. Trotter, Carrington, and Boyd share a race-centric agenda. Other so-called journalists quickly spun out stories that Clark denounced racists for using her name for their agenda. ESPN celebrated. Caitlin Clark likely searched for an aspirin to relieve a justifiable headache.

She’s being used, and no one is protecting her.

Everyone involved needs to be fired.

Clark should step away from the WNBA. The league is going to destroy whatever is left of her happiness. It’s not worth it.

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