Reporter Suspended After Uncomfortable Exchange with Caitlin Clark and Will Not Attend Fever Games

Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star was suspended by the outlet following backlash from his recent exchange with Clark

<p>Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty</p> Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever talks to the media during an introductory press conference on April 17, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Gregg Doyel, the Indianapolis Star reporter whose awkward interaction with Caitlin Clark sparked backlash, has been penalized by the Indianapolis news outlet as the Indiana Fever begins their season.

According to former Star writer and longtime Indianapolis reporter Bob Kravitz, the Star and its owners, Gannett, handed Doyel a two-week suspension following the exchange with Clark during her debut press conference with the Indiana Fever on April 17.

Kravitz reported that Doyel will continue to write columns on the Fever this season, but will not attend any of the team's games in person, which will also remove him from the press conferences with players after games.

Instead, Doyel will watch the games from his home, according to Kravitz.

The ordeal began when Doyel used his time during Clark's introductory presser to hold up his hands to form a heart towards the basketball star, a gesture Clark became known for doing with her family after every Iowa Hawkeyes game.

In a confused response to Doyel's hand gesture, Clark said, "You like that?", to which he replied: "I like that you're here."

Related: Reporter Apologizes to Caitlin Clark After Uncomfortable Exchange During Her First WNBA Press Conference

Clark added, "Yeah, I do that at my family after every game." Doyel responded, "Start doing it to me and we'll get along just fine."

The other reporters in the room seemed to laugh off the awkward exchange, but social media was set ablaze once the interaction began circulating online.

"Almost every one of my women colleagues & students in sport media and sports journalism are sharing that clip of Gregg Doyel and Caitlin Clark with disgust," one user wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. "We are rightly furious and fed up. His creds should be revoked and offered to an unentitled journalist who respects women."

<p>Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty</p> Caitlin Clark poses for a portrait after being selected first overall by the Indiana Fever during the 2024 WNBA Draft

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty

Caitlin Clark poses for a portrait after being selected first overall by the Indiana Fever during the 2024 WNBA Draft

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Doyel responded to the backlash on X, calling his behavior "uniquely oafish" and his comment "clumsy and awkward" before "sincerely" apologizing and promising to "do better" as he covers the team.

Later that day, Doyel released a follow-up column with an additional apology. "Caitlin Clark, I'm so sorry. Today I was part of the problem," he wrote in a post with the column's link.

In the column, Doyel wrote, "What I’ve learned is that I need to be more aware about how I talk to people — not just athletes."

Related: Caitlin Clark Endures Another Awkward Moment with Reporter Asking About Her Boyfriend Before WNBA Debut

"You can say that’s absurd, that I should’ve known better, and I do. But here we are. I was just doing what I do, talking to another athlete, another person, and didn’t see the line — didn’t even know there was a line in the vicinity — until I crossed it."

He added, "In my haste to be clever, to be familiar and welcoming (or so I thought), I offended Caitlin and her family."

Doyel's last writing before going quiet was a column on the Indianapolis Colts, published on April 29. Kravitz said that the Star had "hoped to keep this under wraps," referring to Doyel's suspension, but noted that his absence has become more apparent with the Indiana Pacers having their most successful season in years after advancing to the second round of NBA playoffs.

According to Kravitz, sources said Doyel is expected to return to the Indianapolis Star on Monday, May 13.

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