Columnist Faces More Heat Over Additional Comments About Clark

On Wednesday, Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel found himself in hot water yet again after another awkward moment during the introductory press conference for Caitlin Clark, the No. 1 pick of the Indiana Fever. Doyel, who was already facing criticism for a previous unsettling interaction with Clark, referred to her as “that” and “it” in a new video that surfaced while he was speaking to Fever coach Christie Sides.

The video shows Doyel saying to Sides, “You were just given the keys to that,” in reference to Clark. This language is an odd way to address a player and has raised some eyebrows. This incident comes after Doyel’s previous exchange with Clark at the press conference, where he formed a heart symbol with his hands for her to open his questioning.

Clark, visibly uncomfortable with the gesture, asked Doyel if he liked it, to which he replied, “I like that you’re here.” After Clark explained that she makes the heart symbol for her family after every game with the Iowa Hawkeyes, Doyel’s response only got more awkward. “Start doing it to me, and we’ll get along,” he said.

Social media was quick to react to Doyel’s behavior with many calling it inappropriate, unprofessional, and even creepy. CBS Sports host Chris Williamson suggested that the Fever should revoke Doyel’s credentials, while Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy called him a “pervert.” Radio host Alyssa Bergamini of 690 The Score labeled him a “creep,” and ESPN’s Clinton Yates deemed his behavior “gross.”

Some also criticized Doyel’s position as the “star columnist” of the Pulitzer Prize-winning publication, Indie Star, and his subsequent nonchalant attitude following the incident. Many felt that his behavior was unacceptable, especially in a professional setting.

Following the backlash, Doyel issued an apology on social media and in a column for Indie Star, titled “Caitlin Clark, I’m sorry. On Wednesday, I was part of the problem.” In his apology, Doyel acknowledged his clumsiness and awkwardness in addressing Clark and stated that his intentions were well-meaning. He also promised to do better in the future.

This incident has sparked a conversation about the treatment of female athletes in the media, with many calling for more respect and professionalism towards female athletes. Some have also pointed out the difference in the way male and female athletes are portrayed in the media, with female athletes often facing sexist and objectifying coverage.

In response to the incident, the Indiana Fever released a statement condemning Doyel’s behavior and reiterating their commitment to creating a safe and respectful environment for all. They also stated that they will be working with Doyel to ensure something like this does not happen again.

This is not the first time Doyel has faced criticism for his behavior towards women. In 2019, he faced backlash for his coverage of a high school volleyball player’s school transfer, which was criticized for being biased and degrading towards the player.

The incident with Clark has sparked a larger conversation about the need for more diversity and sensitivity training in the sports media industry. Many are calling for a change in the way female athletes are treated and portrayed in the media, and for a more inclusive and respectful environment for all athletes, regardless of gender.

As for Clark, she has not publicly addressed the incident. However, her talent on the basketball court continues to speak for itself, and she is focusing on her upcoming rookie season with the Indiana Fever. Hopefully, this incident will serve as a wake-up call for the sports media industry to do better and treat all athletes with the respect and professionalism they deserve.


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