top of page

The Caitlin Crisis That Isn't

While I love the attention the media is paying covering women's basketball since Caitlin Clark entered the WNBA as the first draft pick, I am angered by the commentary made mostly by male sports reporters, telling women and the world, that women professional athletes should behave like ladies, not like athletes. The commentary is a complaint against specific seasoned professional women's basketball players, and how they are not treating Caitlin Clark politely and with the deference a basketball Princess deserves. There is so much wrong with the media's criticism.

First, these comments show that the media doesn't take women's professional sports as seriously as men's, and that they don't take women seriously in non-traditional roles. The message in their criticism is: 'Behave yourselves, girls. Be polite, be perfect, be good girls. Have fun, but don't be competitive or play aggressively like us guys. We own that territory, along with 90% of Fortune 500 CEO positions.' The media insinuates that Caitlin shouldn't be pushed down or elbowed on the court. They accuse female players who are powerful on the court as being bullies or bad girls. Caitlin is a true athlete and has not complained. She understands that this is part of the game and that she needs to earn her stripes as a rookie. Caitlin said: "Basketball's competitive. I get it. Sometimes your emotions get the best of you. Happened to me multiple times throughout the course of my career." She added in a separate interview, "People are competitive," giving Chennedy Carter, who knocked Clark to the floor, a compliment. "It is what it is, and she's having a tremendous season. She's played great basketball....there are no grudges." Once this conversation died down, the media found something else to throw at sports women by complaining that Caitlin was wrongly left off of Team USA's Olympic roster. Clark does not need a media knight to rescue her. She owns her power and said, "It's a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there. I think it's just a little more motivation. You remember that. Hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there." 

Women are not little girls. Caitlin is a powerful woman, a talented athlete, who doesn't need media boys to rescue her by beating up women athletes who have worked hard to excel and be recognized. We need to prepare our little girls to become women who will stand up for themselves and for other women just as Caitlin did. Perhaps her words are more powerful than her 3 pointers.

--Leslie Grossman


bottom of page