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Stephen A. Smith breaks down WNBA’s ‘resentment’ of Caitlin Clark after Chennedy Carter flagrant foul

Grant Grubbsby:Grant Grubbs06/03/24

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Stephen A. Smith is standing by Caitlin Clark. In the Indiana Fever’s win over the Chicago Sky on Saturday, Sky guard Chennedy Carter left fans upset after she shoulder-checked Clark to the ground, taunting her as she walked away.

The play was initially ruled a common foul. However, after the game, the WNBA upgraded the hard foul to a Flagrant 1. While many fans claimed the foul resulted from the heat of the moment, Smith provided a different point of view.

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

“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 storm in college and has accomplished in a short period of time what they hadn’t been able to.”

Clark has turned the women’s basketball world on its head, routinely shattering ratings records, selling out jerseys and packing arenas. Smith believes Clark’s fellow WNBA players resent the former Iowa standout’s unrivaled popularity.

“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 and trying to take her out.

“Nobody’s saying don’t try to take out when you’re playing against her. Nobody’s saying not to show her up when you’re going up against her. We get that. But, in the case of this young lady Chennedy Carter — I don’t care about her history and all of this other stuff — you do that to a person who is now the face of the WNBA? You know that there’s something a little extra to that.”

After the game on Saturday, Carter refused to answer any questions about Clark. Yet, she took to social media to insult Clark, writing “beside three point shooting what does she bring to the table man.”

After suffering an injury in the following game, Clark will now have four days to rest before the Fever square off against the Washington Mystics on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.