Why Do Male Commentators Want To Change The WNBA For One Player?

WHN | Jun 3, 2024

Opinion: Uninformed male commentators are ruining the competitive spirit of the WNBA. Social media was in a frenzy after several…

Subscribe now and read this article for FREE!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Opinion: Uninformed male commentators are ruining the competitive spirit of the WNBA.

Social media was in a frenzy after several different takes on the WNBA went viral. ESPN’s First Take went from discussing sports headlines to being the headline after ESPN analyst Monica McNutt called out Stephen A. Smith for not using his platform to cover the women’s game sooner.

“Stephen A., respectfully, with your platform, you could’ve been doing this three years ago.”

Monica is absolutely right in saying that. Smith claims his platform has covered the WNBA more than any other, yet it’s still tough for him to articulate a conversation surrounding the league.

He suggests women play nice so Caitlin Clark can continue to bring in new eyes or so players can receive things like chartered flights and endorsements. Basketball is a physical, competitive sport, and these women should not have to play nice just to get what they deserved well before now.

First Take wasn’t the only ESPN program that made headlines; The Pat McAfee Show did too. McAfee opened his show with a bold and distasteful statement about rookie Caitlin Clark, saying, “I would like the media people that continue to say, ‘This rookie class, this rookie class, this rookie class.’ Nah, just call it for what it is — there’s one white bitch for the Indiana team who is a superstar.”

This remark comes from a so-called Caitlin Clark fan. Someone who admitted to not watching much women’s basketball until being introduced to Clark. He and one of his co-hosts purchased season tickets after it was announced that the Fever would get the first pick. Yes, the word “bitch” can be used as a term of endearment for friends, but coming from a 37-year-old father of a 1-year-old daughter?

Sheesh man, where’s the couth? Do men not know how to express themselves without using profane language or yelling? Especially when it comes to speaking on something that they are literally just getting familiar with.

What makes this clip even more disturbing is the fact that none of his co-hosts reacted at all. Not even a “hold on Pat, let’s take a moment here.” Not even a “whoa!” There was nothing at all after he said that, just four men looking on like sheep. A couple of them even being “yes men” and agreeing with McAfee.

There have been hot takes from fans and self-proclaimed know-it-alls suggesting that veteran players should allow Caitlin Clark to shoot 3’s so that more eyes can be on the league.

Seriously? You expect these women to lay down for a rookie? Interfere with their own deals and clauses so a rookie can come in and win with ease? Especially after veteran superstars didn’t lie down for them. Do you think Candace Parker ushered A’ja Wilson to the basket and said, “Here you go A’ja, have this bucket without any contest”?

In fact, in CP3’s rookie season, she was “welcomed to the league” on several occasions. Vets weren’t showing her any mercy just because she brought along new faces. In her rookie season, there was a WNBA version of “Malice in the Palace” after a scuffle broke out between Parker and Detroit Shock guard Plenette Pierson.

The thing is, instances like this happen in the men’s game all the time. Draymond Green makes headlines every season for some type of misconduct during a game or even among his own teammates. Reggie Miller got into several different tussles throughout his career. Even LeBron James was taunted and hacked his rookie season. There’s even a video of James himself discussing how his own teammates weren’t too fond of the idea of a teenager making the Cavs a contender.

All of this happens in the NBA, and no one bats an eye. No one says, “Oh, you guys should just leave LeBron alone and let him be a star.” Instead, fans lived for the competitive nature of men. Tuning in to the games to see how players would respond to this 18-year-old kid. There wasn’t a petition being formed, or national media outlets calling for players to be nice and stop the jealousy. So why is this happening towards the women in the WNBA?

Just because some of you are just now tuning in when Caitlin Clark gained notoriety doesn’t mean that now, all of a sudden, women’s basketball is interesting.

Women’s Hoops has been dominant! Since players like Sheryl Swoopes, the first woman to have her own shoe, and Lisa Leslie, the first woman to dunk in a game! Let’s not forget about 4x Champion and 2x MVP Cynthia Cooper! Want to visit recent history? That’s easy too. Sue Bird, the first player in WNBA history to win titles in three different decades: 2004, 2008, 2010, and 2020. Maya Moore, who respectfully is your favorite player’s favorite player.

Of course, you can’t mention recent GOATS without mentioning Diana Taurasi. Three championships and the league’s all-time leading scorer. Yes, we know Taurasi for her skill, but true WNBA fans know that she is also an enforcer and a vet who makes sure that players know this is a grown woman’s league. She’ll block your shot, cross you up, and even give you a nice shove to let you know, nothing comes easy! Some fans may not like her methods, others appreciate the competitive spirit. Bottom line… it’s just hoops!

What I want new fans to realize is, just because you believe certain things should happen around the league, that doesn’t make it law. You are new here, enjoy the sport for what it is, and learn about other players who have already made their mark. It is possible to do that while still rooting for your fave. Everything isn’t jealousy; things get chippy in women’s basketball the same way it does in men’s basketball, football, baseball, or hockey.

Yes, true fans of the game want newcomers to see how great these women are. We want new fans to see how they’re able to hoop better than guys who frequent the YMCA on hoop dreams. Some of these ladies do it after having babies, taking care of families, battling other issues, and also being watched under a microscope by men and some women who claim to have all the answers.

Learn who these women are. Learn these teams, continue to support, but most importantly, remember it’s just hoops. Nothing more, nothing less.

Brandolyn Hellams is a journalist and producer in Atlanta, who covers sports and entertainment.

Keeping Maryland Competitive Amidst The Ever-Changing College Basketball Landscape

WHN | Jun 5, 2024

WNBA Could Increase Media Rights Fees To $240 Million

WHN | Jun 14, 2024

Phoenix Mercury Signs Charisma Osborne

WHN | Jun 13, 2024

Iowa Alum Molly Davis Joins Coaching Staff Of Division 1 Program

WHN | Jun 12, 2024

WNBA Trash Talking Is Good, Actually

WHN | Jun 12, 2024

Pat Summitt’s Legacy Lives On In Candace Parker’s New Family Addition

WHN | Jun 11, 2024

Kyra Elzy Joins Duke As Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach

WHN | Jun 10, 2024