Congressman asks WNBA to curb physical play on Caitlin Clark

A U.S. congressman from Indiana is crying foul over Caitlin Clark’s treatment in the WNBA and is calling for answers in a letter he sent to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert. 

Congressman Jim Banks (R, IN-3) sent the letter to the WNBA on Tuesday and specifically referenced the incident between Chennedy Carter and Clark during last Saturday’s game between the Sky and Fever. 

Outkick had been first to report the news of the letter from the Republican, who is also the GOP Nominee in a senate race this November in Indiana. 

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind) sent a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert about the targeting of Fever star Caitlin Clark. AP

The two-page letter began with Banks praising the increased interest in the WNBA and specifically pointing out Clark’s contributions to the new attention women’s basketball has been getting. 

Banks then dives into what he describes as “Clark’s exceptionalism” being met with “resentment and repeated attacks from fellow players” before discussing the flagrant foul that Carter laid on Clark late in the third quarter of the Fever win over Chicago. 

“Chennedy Carter went out of her way to knock Clark to the floor while neither player had the ball. Further, the excessive attack was visibly cheered on and supported by Carter’s teammate Angel Reese,” Banks wrote in the letter. 

“Indiana is a basketball state. We don’t wince at aggressive defense, but this was not an example of playing ‘tough’; it was a cheap shot that could have resulted in an injury and should not be tolerated.”

Banks went on to imply that Carter and Sky weren’t assessed much of a punishment from the play aside from the upgrade of the foul and a fine for Reese over her failure to adhere to WNBA media policies. 

Caitlin Clark Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

“It is not only a disservice to Clark and the Indiana Fever, it’s a disservice to the millions of young girls who are watching with dreams of playing in the WNBA one day,” the Congressman wrote in the letter. 

He concluded by asking Engelbert to respond to four questions that he had by June 14 that related to what the WNBA would be doing to “curb excessive physical targeting of specific players.”

“Do you believe that WNBA players repeatedly diminishing the talents of their fellow players is beneficial to the leagues’ overall success?” was another question posed by Banks. 

Caitlin Clark dribbles the ball against the Liberty. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

“Do you believe that it is inspiring to young female athletes to see players like the Indiana’s Caitlin Clark physically targeted for her success?” Banks also asked. 

Just about everyone in the sports and media world has seemed to dive into the debate surrounding the treatment of Clark by other players in the league. 

Banks’ letter made no mention of an equally egregious foul committed against Reese in a separate game last month, when she was sent to the ground by her kneck while going up for a rebound against the Suns’ Alyssa Thomas. 

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert. AP

Thomas was ejected from the game with a flagrant 2.

Sparks’ star and the second overall pick in this year’s WNBA draft Cameron Brink also pushed back on the narrative that the league’s new stars were being targeted. 

“The most tired narrative is that the vets are against the rookies — this old-school versus new-school narrative,” Brink told Uproxx.

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