Caitlin Clark Fans Are Furious Over That Chennedy Carter Shoulder-Check Amid WNBA Criticism

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UPDATE—June 3, 2024: Upon further review, the WNBA has upgraded Chennedy Carter’s foul against Caitlin Clark to a flagrant-1 violation, though they didn’t assign any fines to the Chicago Sky player.

Chicago rookie Angel Reese, however, ended up with a $1,000 fine for “failing to make herself available” to the press during the post-game press conference, with Chicago Sky getting hit with a $5,000 fine for not ensuring her presence. Chennedy Carter did participate in the press conference, though she declined to answer any questions about the move against Clark.

“Physical play, intensity, and competitive spirit are hallmarks of Chicago Sky basketball. Chennedy got caught up in the heat of the moment in an effort to win the game,” Chicago Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon said in a statement on June 3. “She and I have discussed what happened and that it was not appropriate, nor is it what we do or who we are. Chennedy understands that there are better ways to handle situations on the court, and she will learn from this, as we all will.”

She concluded, “As a team, we will grow together and continue to work hard to display strong leadership and set a positive example for our competitors, fans, and partners.”

Despite Weatherspoon’s statement, Carter appears to be enjoying the controversy on social media. On June 2, she went after Clark’s skills on Instagram Threads, writing, “& that’s that on that cause beside three point shooting what does she bring to the table man.”

Carter has a history of controversy in the WNBA. Per ESPN, she was suspended by Atlanta Dream midway through the 2021 season for “conduct detrimental to the team” and eventually traded to the Los Angeles Sparks. According to The Los Angeles Times, Carter was waived from the team in 2023 after being benched for poor conduct. She took a year off from the WNBA before joining the Chicago Sky’s roster.

In her own post-game interview on June 1, Clark said she “wasn't expecting” the foul but is trying not to let her opponents get inside her head. “I think at this point I know I’m going to take a couple of hard shots a game and that’s what it is,” she said, per CNN. “I’m trying not to let it bother me and just stay in the game and stay in what’s important because usually it’s the second person that gets caught if you retaliate.”

She continued, “So I’m just trying to stay in the game and focus on my team and focus on what’s important.”

Original Story—June 1, 2024: WNBA fans have been waiting with bated breath for the first official face-off between star rookies Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, and the game certainly didn’t disappoint. The Indiana Fever home game against Chicago Sky was a true nail-biter, ending with a score of 71-70 in favor of the Fever. However, there was one moment in the game that got people talking for less positive reasons.

As multiple players in the WNBA push back against fan criticism that seasoned players are unfairly targeting the league’s new superstars on the court and in the press, another hard foul against Clark is going viral. While basketball is obviously physical sport, some fans were shocked to see Chicago Sky’s Chennedy Carter appear to call Clark a “bitch” before hitting her with a shoulder-check in the third quarter.

Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter gets called for a foul on Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark on June 1, 2024.

WNBA: JUN 01 Chicago Sky at Indiana Fever

Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter gets called for a foul on Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark on June 1, 2024.
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Instead of calling a flagrant foul, which would have resulted in Carter’s ejection from the game, officials called an away-from-play foul. Clark disagreed with the call, as she told ESPN in between quarters. “Yeah, that’s just not a basketball play,” she said, per Sports Illustrated. “But you know I’ve gotta play through it, that’s what basketball is about at this level.”

Some fans were less willing to move past it. “Tell me again, how Caitlin Clark is not being targeted & treated unfairly,” one fan said of the moment, directly referring to the recent discourse. Another wrote, “WNBA players are not beating the hating Caitlin Clark allegations at all 😭 they are mad.”

ESPN Radio host Jake Asman described the moment as an “embarrassment for the WNBA,” suggesting Carter should have been suspended.

When asked about the face-off in a post-game interview, Carter replied, “I ain’t answering no Caitlin Clark questions.”

For what it’s worth, Caitlin Clark appears to recognize the target on her back—whether it’s a matter of jealousy, as some fans believe, or simply a natural response to the number one draft pick’s talent on the court. “I think everybody’s physical with me,” Clark said during a recent press conference. “You know, they get away with things [that] probably, other people don't get away with.”

Earlier this week Angel Reese was on the receiving end of a particularly hard foul that did result in the ejection of Connecticut Sun player Alyssa Thomas. “It’s not just because I’m a rookie, I’m a player,” Reese told reporters after the game. “I'm a basketball player. They don’t give a damn if I’m a rookie. I want them to come at me every day. I want them to come at everybody. I mean, they’re not supposed to be nice to me. I hope you know that they’re not supposed to be nice to me or lay down because I’m Angel Reese or because I’m a rookie.”

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“I hope you know that they’re not supposed to be nice to me,” Reese said of the discourse.

Not everyone agrees with Reese’s assessment. “This is crazy,” one fan wrote in response to today's viral foul. “I can understand hard fouls but between this and Alyssa Thomas attacking Angel Reese, it needs to stop. The league is growing because of this rookie class. Live with it old heads.”

Meanwhile, Phoenix Mercury player Natasha Cloud recently stuck up for the league, describing the discourse as “extremely hateful.”

“Y’all want us to hate each other so bad and that’s the furthest thing from the fucking truth,” she said in a recent press conference. “We love our sisters. This is a sisterhood [for] everyone that’s a part of this league, but [don’t] expect us to not go out and be dogs every single night when we step across those lines.”

Originally Appeared on Glamour