Jason Whitlock: “The basketball establishment is reacting to Caitlin Clark much the same way the golf establishment reacted to Tiger Woods 25 years ago. Most of the establishment is overjoyed. They see the opportunity, attention, and cash the Iowa basketball star can bring to the women’s game… And then there’s the contention of bigots, the people fearful that Clark’s ascension will diminish them. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley and LSU center Angel Reese are the leaders of the latter group. They’re Fuzzy Zoeller. You remember Fuzzy, he won the 1979 Masters and the 1984 US Open. More than those victories, Zoeller is remembered for the racist and mean-spirited comments he made toward Tiger Woods during the final round of the 1997 Masters. Caitlin Clark, a White basketball star dominating a Black sport triggered Dawn Staley and Angel Reese. Clark’s Hawkeyes upset Staley’s no. 1 ranked South Carolina team in the semifinals of the Final Four. After the game Staley deflected attention away from her coaching errors, and Clark’s magnificent performance by complaining that unnamed reporters called South Carolina players ‘thugs’ and ‘monkeys’. Staley framed Iowa coach Lisa Bruder’s harmless comment about a rebounding ‘bar fight’ as racist… Dawn Staley smeared everybody and the media is such cowards, they’re allowing her to smear everybody. This whole ‘bar fight’ was the Iowa coach at a press conference before the semifinal game praising Dawn Staley’s team's ability to offensive rebound, and how physical they are. This is just someone talking about a physical team imposing their size advantage and strength advantage over another team. A coach talking coach-speak says ‘bar fight’ and Dawn Staley sits on a platform with the whole national media watching and paying attention, and basically calls Iowa’s coach a racist, and then says these unknown reporters are out calling them ‘monkeys’ and ‘thugs.’ REALLY? This is what’s called a CONSPIRACY THEORY. She’s offering up zero evidence, she’s just rattling off with the mouth some narrative that everybody wants to hear, and that she knows the media will gobble up. She invented this entire racial narrative out of thin air, and of course, corporate media sold Staley’s lies and gossip… This little White girl, Caitlin Clark, comes in and busts ya’ll’s head wide open, they leave ya’ll to shoot any shot you want, and you want to say ‘MY PLAYERS COULDN’T PLAY BECAUSE REPORTERS WERE GOSSIPING ABOUT THEM! LISA BLUDER SAYS WE WERE BAR FIGHTERS! IT’S JUST SO DANGEROUS!’ The LSU players picked up right where Dawn Staley left off. The Tigers claimed they were ‘disrespected’ and upset about the way Iowa defended South Carolina. Iowa did them a favor and eliminated South Carolina from the tournament. If South Carolina had won, LSU wouldn’t be the national champion, but somehow they were ‘disrespected’ by the way Iowa defended South Carolina. I think Kim Mulkey baited her team into following Dawn Staley’s footsteps and buying into this racial narrative. I like and respect Kim Mulkey, I don’t like the energy her and her team tapped into here but I don’t blame her. She’s a coach and she’s going to take any advantage she can. If ya’ll want to pretend like Iowa is the KKK to defend Caitlin Clark, have at it, ladies, here’s a little tape of Caitlin Clark talking smack. ‘HEY DAWN, CAN YOU CALL MY TEAM AND TELL THEM HOW RACIST IOWA IS??’ You’ll never convince me in any authentic way that the fact South Carolina wasn’t defended along the perimeter was somehow ‘disrespectful’ to LSU, but that was all a part of the justification for re-stalking and taunting Clark at the conclusion of LSU’s victory in Sunday’s championship. Most of the corporate media are afraid to criticize Angel Reese – she’s Black and everyone fears the race card. We know Caitlin Clark briefly waived her hand in front of her face in the Elite Eight game against Louisville. The gesture wasn’t directed at any particular player, Clark claims it was directed at an Iowa assistant coach. Clark plays with a bravado, a style, and an air of cockiness that mirrors Steph Curry. Clark is a bit of a hot dog, we know that, but hot dogs are annoying, not classless. I’m not really a fan of either, but one is worse than the other. What Reese did was classless. Reese reminds me of college football stars Johnny Manziel and Baker Mayfield. The Heisman Trophy winners were widely criticized on-air for their on-field antics. No one called the criticisms ‘racist’ because Mayfield and Manziel are White, and in America it’s appropriate to criticize the poor behavior of White people. We rationalize and sometimes even celebrate the poor behavior of Black people. Both Manziel and Mayfield were criticized in real-time during the broadcasts. Everything about Angel Reese’s behavior was celebrated. No one offered an ounce of criticism. A few people called it classless because it WAS classless. Let’s quit acting like what Angel Reese did was the exact same thing as what Caitlin Clark did in the Louisville game. People are lying. But we rationalize and celebrate the behavior we desire and expect. We want Black girls to handle success in a classless matter. We want young Black people to prioritize their skin color above all else. Following Sunday’s game, Angel Reese bragged about being ‘ghetto’ and ‘hood’, and inspiring other Black girls to do the same. This is why I go back to Fuzzy Zoeller, and people feeling diminished, and threatened by Caitlin Clark. Same thing Tiger Woods went through. This woman [Angel Reese] said ‘I feel like I helped grow women’s college basketball…’ I’m not saying this to be disrespectful, I’m just speaking it factually… No one knew who this woman [Angel Reese] was a week or two ago. Hardcore women’s basketball fans knew, but no one else knew. The people growing the game is Caitlin Clark. It’s clear as day and everybody knows it. She’s must-see TV. LSU is a nice team, Kim Mulkey and her jackets is the star. Angel Reese wants that credit. She ‘grew the game’, that’s just BS. That’s clout-chasing and looking for credit. Next year she might because she’s injected herself into the conversation from being this classless. But ain’t nobody tuning in to see her 6’3”, grab some offensive rebounds, and throw them up toward the basket. She’s not a skilled player. She’s big, she’s bigger than everybody else. Congrats, she won the genetics lottery, and is using it to exploit women’s college basketball. This other girl is skilled, fun to watch, and the reason to tune in. Reese sounds as misinformed and bigoted as Fuzzy Zoeller. The game of basketball is dominated by Black athletes. There’s no shortage of basketball role models for Black kids. There’s a glut. What basketball lacks is a homegrown White American star who plays with flair and style. Basketball needs a Tiger Woods. Dawn Staley and Angel Reese would rather see the game forego the growth Clark can deliver than see the spotlight on a White star. We’ve seen this before. It will be interesting to see if the bigots break Caitlin Clark. It couldn’t break Tiger Woods. We will see if this White girl is just as strong.” (Full Segment Above)
Watch Jason Whitlock of ‘Fearless’ compare Iowa women's basketball star Caitlin Clark to Tiger Woods and LSU women's star Angel Reese to former PGA Tour player Fuzzy Zoeller, as Whitlock says Clark is facing the same kind of bigotry that Woods had to deal with in 1997 when some in the golfing establishment weren't comfortable with an athlete with a different skin color dominating their game.
Zoeller, a two-time major winner, is most known for crude remarks he made about Woods during the 1997 Masters that many considered racist. Whitlock says Reese and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley sound as ‘misinformed and bigoted’ toward Clark as Zoeller was toward Woods, adding that both women made up bogus racial narratives in attempt to steer attention away from the sport’s new crown jewel in Clark.
Check out the segment above as Whitlock calls out Reese and Staley for their ‘gossip’ and ‘lies’ towards Clark and Iowa basketball.
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