Sports

Veteran columnist’s bizarre Caitlin Clark interaction draws fury from fans

Caitlin Clark was introduced as a member of the Indiana Fever Wednesday and met with the media during her first press conference as a WNBA player.

One question from the media caught the attention of the entire sports world, and it appeared to rub a lot of fans the wrong way.

Indy Star columnist Gregg Doyel drew the ire of fans due to his interaction with Clark after forming a heart symbol with his hands for Clark.

Caitlin Clark's first WNBA press conference

The Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark talks to reporters Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Clark asked Doyel whether he liked that, and he responded, “I like that you’re here.” 

Clark said she makes the gesture with her hands to her family “after every game.”

“Start doing it to me, and we’ll get along,” Doyel responded.

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Clark smiled back as he started on his first question. 

Doyel eventually wrote about the pressure she faced as she embarked on her rookie season with the entire world watching what she will be able to do at the professional level.

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Caitlin Clark at the Fever press conference

The Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark speaks during a news conference Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

But the interaction that went viral across social media drew criticism on X.

“I would totally understand if the Fever revoked Gregg Doyel’s credentials for this creepy back and forth with Caitlin,” CBS Sports host Chris Williamson wrote.

Alyssa Bergamini of 690 The Score called Doyel a “creep,” while ESPN’s Clinton Yates said, “This is obviously inappropriate, unprofessional and just plain gross.”

“I don’t know Gregg Doyel personally. But I’ve followed him on here for years. He’s the *star columnist* for IndyStar, a pulitzer-prize winning pub that helped bring down Larry Nassar,” columnist Lindsay Gibbs wrote. “And he thought it was OK to ask that, and then wasn’t ashamed, he went on tweeting afterwards!”

Doyel responded to criticism later Wednesday.

Caitlin Clark with Iowa

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark walks to the bench during the second half of the national championship game against South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament  April 7, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

“Today in my uniquely oafish way, while welcoming @CaitlinClark22 to Indy, I formed my hands into her signature (hand heart emoji),” he wrote on X. “My comment afterward was clumsy and awkward. I sincerely apologize. Please know my heart (literally and figuratively) was well-intentioned. I will do better.”

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