Sports

Columnist apologizes to Caitlin Clark over awkward heart gesture

An Indianapolis sports columnist has apologized for holding up a heart symbol with his hands, as well as for his subsequent comments, to new Indiana Fever player and college basketball star Caitlin Clark in what quickly became a “clumsy” interaction.

Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel, during Clark’s introductory press conference with the WNBA team, made the heart symbol while speaking to her, to which Clark responded, “You like that? ” Doyel replied, “I love that you’re here.”

Clark, who broke the NCAA women’s and men’s scoring record while an Iowa Hawkeye and was the No. 1 pick in Monday’s WNBA draft, said: I do this with my family after every game, so it’s pretty cool. »

“OK, well, start doing that to me and we’ll get along just fine,” Doyel responded, before asking about Clark’s decision to turn pro and enter the draft.

Doyel, in a column published online Wednesday evening, apologized.

“I am devastated to realize that I am part of the problem,” he wrote.

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Doyel said he is known for having awkward conversations with people before asking “cheeky conversational questions.” He had done this for years with the coaches of the Indianapolis Colts, as well as with players at Purdue University and Indiana University, Doyel wrote.

He called himself “another insensitive man” and said he had offended Clark and his family while trying to be “smart” and “welcoming.”

“After going through denial, then anger, am I on the wrong side? Me??? — I now realize what I said and how I said it was wrong, wrong, wrong. I mean, it was just wrong,” Doyel wrote. “Caitlin Clark, I’m so sorry.”

NBC News could not immediately reach Clark or his representatives for comment Wednesday evening.

Clark, 22, broke the NCAA all-time record last season in February at the University of Iowa, then broke the men’s record a month later. She finished with 3,951 career points.

With Clark playing, the NCAA women’s championship game between the Hawkeyes and the South Carolina Gamecocks attracted more viewers than the men’s championship game for the first time.

Iowa lost to South Carolina for the title, but Clark was singled out by Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley for improving women’s basketball.

Clark has since made several high-profile media appearances, including on “TODAY” and “Saturday Night Live.” In another sign of fans’ enthusiasm for her, Clark’s Indiana Fever jersey became the best-selling jersey of all time for a draft pick.



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