ESPN Host Pat McAfee Expresses Regret for Calling Caitlin Clark ‘White b*tch’

ESPN personality Pat McAfee has issued a public apology for referring to WNBA rookie Caitlin Clark as a “White b*tch” during a segment on his show, where he discussed the impact of race on her rapid rise in popularity.

Public Apology via Social Media

On Monday afternoon, McAfee took to X (formerly Twitter) to address the incident. “I shouldn’t have used ‘white b*tch’ as a descriptor of Caitlin Clark. Regardless of the context, even if discussing race as a factor in her success, I hold too much respect for her and all women to let that term slip out,” McAfee wrote. He also mentioned that he had personally reached out to Clark with an apology.

Segment Discussion and Apology

The apology followed a segment on McAfee’s show, which airs on both ESPN and YouTube, where he praised Clark’s contribution to the WNBA’s popularity this year. He suggested that some believe her success is linked to her being White, but he argued that her talent is the real reason behind her rising stardom. McAfee detailed Clark’s impressive TV ratings, ticket sales, and jersey sales during a game show-style segment titled, “Guess Which WNBA Rookie.”

“What we’re highlighting is that the WNBA has a standout star right now,” McAfee stated. “However, I want the media to stop generalizing about the rookie class and acknowledge the standout performer. There is one White b*tch for the Indiana team who is a superstar.”

McAfee further described Clark’s achievements, noting her pivotal role in Iowa’s basketball program and her record-breaking NCAA performance.

“Is it possible that people enjoy watching her play because of her electrifying style, her achievements, and her approach to the game?” McAfee pondered. “Perhaps. But instead, we hear people attributing her popularity to her being White, overshadowing the contributions of the rest of the rookie class. That’s nonsense, and the WNBA refs need to stop targeting her unfairly. We are fortunate to have someone of her caliber in Indiana.”

>>Related  Caitlin Clark Faces Tough Night, Indiana Fever Triumph Thanks to Team Effort

Backlash from Colleagues and the Public

Despite McAfee’s praise, his use of the term “White b*tch” and the focus on race sparked criticism from ESPN colleagues and others in the sports community.

ESPN analyst Kim Adams tweeted, “This is just completely unacceptable. Interested to see how ESPN handles it. His argument doesn’t align with what’s happening in the WNBA right now. Let the women play.”

ESPN WNBA reporter Alexa Philippou added, “The men are not ok,” in response to the segment.

NBC sports analyst Nicole Auerbach tweeted, “Beyond unacceptable,” while former ESPN host Jemele Hill commented, “Referring to Caitlin Clark as ‘the white b*tch for Indiana.’ That’s beyond being too comfortable. Just totally unacceptable.”

ESPN has not commented on the matter, and the Indiana Fever did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Previous Controversies

This incident adds to McAfee’s history of controversial moments at ESPN. Earlier this year, he faced backlash for allowing New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers to make unfounded allegations on his show about ABC host Jimmy Kimmel. McAfee apologized after Kimmel threatened legal action and banned Rodgers from the show for the rest of the season.

McAfee also publicly criticized former ESPN executive Norby Williamson, accusing him of sabotage and leaking false information about McAfee’s show. Williamson left the network a few months later.

Clark’s Performance

Amid the controversy, Caitlin Clark was named the WNBA Rookie of the Month for May. She averaged 15.6 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.1 rebounds over 11 games.

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