Bob Costas talks Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and race within the WNBA

Bob Costas appeared on CNN’s “NewsNight With Abby Phillip” on Monday evening alongside Cari Champion. The trio mentioned the drama within the WNBA surrounding Caitlin Clark. 

One remark from Costas, specifically, made the rounds on social media Tuesday. Costas stated {that a} foul dedicated in opposition to Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese by Connecticut Solar ahead Alyssa Thomas did not garner the identical consideration as Chennedy Carter fouling Caitlin Clark as a result of it was a “black-on-black incident.” 

“There was an incident not too long ago the place Alyssa Thomas, who occurs to be African-American, grabbed Angel Reese by the throat and threw her to the ground,” Costas stated.


“The explanation why that doesn’t spark as a lot dialog isn’t simply that Caitlin Clark is an even bigger star than Alyssa Thomas. It’s as a result of it’s a black-on-black incident. You do not have the dynamic that folks can touch upon but in addition exaggerate and make your complete story.”

Here is the clip of Costas that made headlines, and a clip of the foul dedicated in opposition to Angel Reese on Could 25 to which he’s referring. (App customers click on right here).

All the section with Costas, Phillip and Champion lasted seven minutes, with the above clip producing essentially the most response. 

The total section included Cari Champion saying she was uninterested in folks claiming that different WNBA gamers are “jealous” of Caitlin Clark. 

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever reacts in opposition to the Chicago Sky in the course of the fourth quarter within the sport at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on June 01, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Pictures)

“There needs to be extra layers to this sport,” Champion stated. “For those who’re actually going to welcome your self to the WNBA and canopy it and discuss it, can we be extra than simply ‘jealous’? Can there be some actual, true competitors? Can they simply be athletes?”

At this level, Costas respectfully disagrees with Champion. 

“I believe it could be silly to say that resentment and jealousy are usually not a part of the combination, as a result of these are human feelings,” Costas stated. “However to raise that above the whole lot else and discard the whole lot else in an advanced dynamic, that’s the fallacious technique to go.”

Here is the total section (app customers click on right here): 

I do know Bob just a little bit from my time working at ESPN. He had appeared on a number of reveals that I produced all through the years, so I made a decision to succeed in out to him and see if he would speak to OutKick about his commentary and the reactions to it. 

He graciously accepted the invitation, which I recognize. He shared with me his normal distaste for the “clickbait” media, the place clips get taken out of context and other people search for “gotcha” moments. He felt that some folks did that with this clip. 

However diving deeper into this Caitlin Clark-Angel Reese-WNBA debate, I discovered that Costas and I’ve extra in widespread than issues on which we disagree. 


Bob Costas on the WNBA, Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and racial dynamics within the league

Bob Costas

Bob Costas of NBC Sports activities speak earlier than the NFC Divisional Playoff Recreation at College of Phoenix Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Jennifer Stewart/Getty Pictures)

I will begin with the disagreement, as a result of it is a shorter record. I disagree with Costas’ take that the Reese foul received much less consideration as a result of she and Thomas are each black. 

To me, the explanations it received much less consideration are fairly clear: Clark is a a lot greater star than Reese, the sport through which Reese was fouled aired on CBS Sports activities Community (which attracts small audiences) and Clark’s sport in opposition to Chicago was on ESPN (and had over 1.5 million viewers, per Sports activities Media Watch). 

As well as, there was some controversy across the Carter foul on Clark as a result of referees didn’t assess a flagrant within the second. As Costas identified on CNN, Alyssa Thomas was assessed a flagrant-2 for her choke slam on Reese and ejected from the sport. Justice was served, so to talk. 

I advised Bob that I disagreed along with his tackle this, and to his credit score, he advised me that the criticisms have been “truthful.” 

“Sure, something that includes Caitlin Clark goes to get a disproportionate quantity of consideration,” Costas stated. “If she goes for 30 factors, that is going to get a disproportionate quantity of consideration than if another person scored 30 factors as a result of she’s a focus. I perceive that is the first distinction between Caitlin Clark and everyone else.” 

That being stated, Costas feels as if Angel Reese garners sufficient consideration in her personal proper to get extra protection on an egregious foul than she did. 

“You possibly can make a really sturdy case that, regardless that she can also be a rookie, given the eye that each of them received over the last two NCAA Tournaments, the second-most well-known participant to the common, non-initiated WNBA fan proper now could be Angel Reese,” Costas stated. 

Once more, I largely agree with Costas right here. The place I disagree barely is that the hole between the 2 is kind of giant, thus the disproportionate protection between #1 and #2 nonetheless is smart, however that is only a minor distinction of opinion. 

Costas weighs-in on the strain surrounding Caitlin Clark and different WNBA participant

Caitlin Clark perplexed

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever reacts in the course of the second half in opposition to the Seattle Storm within the sport at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Could 30, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Pictures)

The place Costas and I agreed very closely was with regards to the hostility that Caitlin Clark faces from different WNBA gamers. Many individuals wish to boil that down to at least one concern. 

Some suppose it is as a result of she’s white, some suppose it is as a result of she’s not as proficient as marketed, some suppose it is jealousy of her fame, some suppose it does not exist and that is simply normal rookie hazing. 

However the actual reply is apparent: it is all of these issues for some WNBA gamers, a few of these issues for others, and none of these issues for nonetheless others. 

Sure, Clark’s race performs a job, in response to Costas, however so do all the opposite components. 

“You’d should be willfully blind to not acknowledge {that a} substantial portion of no matter resentment there may be throughout the WNBA in the direction of Caitlin Clark is not simply because she’s obtained a lot publicity … Not simply because she’s making more cash … however there’s some resentment in the direction of her as a result of she’s white. There is not any query about that,” he stated. 

“And there is additionally no query that some folks have focused her for any mixture of causes. However that does not imply that it is also not concurrently true in a fancy scenario that there are different causes. A number of the resentment has a racial aspect for some gamers. However not everybody within the league,” Costas continued. 

“Persons are going to listen to what they wish to hear. They are going to emphasize what they wish to emphasize. I believe that, as with most issues, my view on it is a whole lot extra textured and nuanced than clickbait addicts can cope with.” 

I am incessantly pissed off when folks attempt to dumb down the human mind. You realize, it’s attainable for people to carry a number of feelings and emotions all on the similar time. We’re advanced creatures with advanced ideas and feelings, which I believe Costas clearly understands and articulates effectively. 

There are nearly definitely many WNBA gamers who’re jealous of Clark’s success and recognition, but in addition understand that, finally, it may be good for the league and good for them in the long term. Each issues will be true, and each emotions can exist throughout the similar particular person’s mind on the similar time. 

Bob Costas did a pleasant job of fleshing out your complete concern, defending his factors whereas additionally giving floor when he met cheap criticism, and he and I had an excellent and respectful dialog, even after we disagreed. Novel idea, I do know. 

The issue for Costas, and for me writing this text, is that nuanced takes that weigh a number of situations and take many circumstances into consideration simply do not do effectively in at present’s media surroundings. 

Everybody desires a “sizzling take” and brief consideration spans have made it nearly unimaginable to interrupt by means of with long-form content material. I might be shocked if anybody in addition to my dad and my editor have even made it this far on this piece.  

Simply have a look at the 2 Costas clips on CNN that I shared above. As of this writing, the shortened clip the place he talks concerning the “black-on-black incident” has over a million views. 


The total clip with all the correct context? Fewer than 75k viewers. Speak about disproportionate protection, huh? 

In conclusion, I actually wish to thank Bob Costas for taking the time to talk with me and with OutKick. Hopefully, if you happen to made it this far, you bought one thing out of the dialog like I did. 

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