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ESPN’s Monica McNutt laments coverage of Caitlin Clark hard foul: ‘Are we really leading sports with this?’

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The hard foul delivered from Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter to Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark garnered a lot of attention across the sports world last week.

So much so, ESPN’s “First Take” led with it. Stephen A. Smith, Shannon Sharpe and Monica McNutt all had something to say about the incident. McNutt wondered at the time why the first topic on the debate show was a foul.

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Monica McNutt in January 2024

Monica McNutt attends the “Shattered Glass: A WNBPA Story” New York premiere at WNBPA Offices on Jan. 29, 2024 in New York City. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

On Monday, in an appearance on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, McNutt again expressed some tinge of frustration about how that was covered.

“The conversation Jon, it started about this foul over the weekend,” she said. “Chennedy Carter for the Chicago Sky fouled Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever. And I’m not gonna lie to you, Jon, if I take you through my day that morning. I get the call, or the text rather. And I’m like, ‘Are we really leading sports with this?’. Are we really leading sports with a foul? In sports? Alright, fine, let’s just do it.

“So we have the conversation with colleagues and friends, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe. My larger point in the conversation was the tenor and the prevailing narrative that has been created about this season’s WNBA play is that it’s the league versus Caitlin Clark. And that is just absolutely false. 

ESPN PANELIST WORRIES ABOUT CAITLIN CLARK BEING USED AS ‘AVATAR’ FOR SOME TO ATTACK BLACK WNBA PLAYERS

Chennedy Carter stands in the key

Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter, #7, is whistled for a flagrant foul for knocking Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark, #22, to the ground on June 1, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“It’s unfair to the women that have been there building the league to this moment so that Caitlin Clark’s popularity can take it to the next level. So by the end of the show, my tone had changed and I kind of needed to put my foot down a little bit.”

Stewart asked whether there were some in the WNBA “who feel like I don’t want this to belong to everybody. I want it to belong to this band of sisters that have worked so hard to make it something.”

McNutt raised her hand.

“I have had that moment, a few times, because as much as the conversation has been dictated by the audience, we still haven’t actually sat up and talked about the actual basketball of it,” McNutt said, pointing to some of the storylines of the WNBA season.

Monica McNutt in June 2023

Monica McNutt attends the “Swagger” premiere during the 2023 Tribeca Festival at AMC 19th Street on June 17, 2023 in New York City. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)

“We’ve opened the door, but we’re looking in instead of walking in.”

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The WNBA said Monday it finished May “with its highest attended opening month in 26 years and its most-watched start of season across each network ever.”

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