Pat McAfee apologizes to Caitlin Clark after viral tirade

ESPN analyst Pat McAfee made a feature on his eponymous show about Indiana Fever star Caitlin Clark that didn't go down well with viewers.

McAfee's choice of words immediately sparked a fierce reaction on social media, and the former NFL punter apologized to X.

“I shouldn't have described Caitlin Clark as a 'white bitch.' No matter what the context… even if we're talking about race being a reason for some of the things that happen… I have way too much respect for her and women to put something like that out there.

“I meant it to be flattering, like the entire segment, but a lot of people are saying it most definitely wasn't. That's 100% on me and for that I apologize… I also sent Caitlin an apology. Everything else I said… is still allllllll facts. #Journalism #WNBAProgrum #SheIsTheOne.”

On the June 3 episode of The Pat McAfee Show, the host addressed the current state of the WNBA, attempting to give Clark flowers because the league has grown tremendously in popularity since being voted No. 1.

“What the WNBA has right now is what we like to call a cash cow, there's a superstar,” McAfee said. “And we're not saying the players have to behave differently on the court. The athletes are going to do what the athletes do in any sport. I think we're all learning that the WNBA… this is old-school football, baby.”

“I want the media people to keep saying, 'This rookie class, this rookie class, this rookie class.' No, just call it what it is – there's a white bitch on the Indiana team who's a superstar,” he told Clark.

Former NBA champion Kendrick Perkins sent a message to Pat McAfee and other men with “challenging words for women”

Former NBA star and current commentator Kendrick Perkins criticized McAfee and several ESPN colleagues for their discussions about the WNBA.

“I look at guys like Charles Barkley, LeBron James, Stephen A. and Shannon Sharpe. Why am I mentioning those four guys? You have to be careful what words you use,” Perkins said. “The word hate, the word jealousy, those are trigger words for women… You have to think twice about that because it's not hate and it's not jealousy. It's competition.”

“At the end of the day, you have to respect the WNBA,” Perkins continued. “You have to respect the women who play, you have to respect the women who cover the game, and you have to make sure you do it in a great way.”

Charles Barkley recently defended Clark against the “petty” women who “hate” the rookie superstar. LeBron James defended Clark on his podcast “Mind the Game.” “Don't get this wrong,” James said. “Don't get this wrong. Caitlin Clark is the reason there are going to be a lot of great things happening in the WNBA.”

Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon issued a statement on Chennedy Carter's Flagrant-1 against Caitlin Clark

McAfee's comments come amid the drama following the Fever's 71-70 win over the Chicago Sky. Earlier, Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon issued a statement on guard Chennedy Carter's hip check of Clark late in the third quarter.

“Physical play, intensity and competitive spirit are hallmarks of Chicago Sky basketball. Chennedy got carried away in the heat of the moment in an attempt to win the game,” Weatherspoon wrote.

“She and I have discussed what happened and that it was not appropriate, neither what we do nor who we are. Chennedy understands there are better ways to handle situations on the court and she will learn from this, as will we all.

“As a team, we will grow together and continue to work hard to demonstrate strong leadership and set a positive example for our competitors, fans and partners.”

During the June 1 game, Carter yelled, “You're an asshole” and shoved Clark to the ground. Referees called a foul, but the WNBA upgraded it to a major violation after reviewing the play, the AP reported the following day.

Carter, who was the Sky's top scorer with 19 points, spoke to reporters after the game but refused to answer a question about whether Clark said anything to her before the shove. “I don't answer questions about Caitlin Clark,” she said.