Caitlin Clark Gene Auriemma
Source YouTube: Good Morning America, Women Hooping

WNBA fans were shocked and appalled on Saturday night when the Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark was on the receiving end of a hard foul from Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter.

Now, UConn coach Geno Auriemma, who coached against Clark during her time with the Iowa Hawkeyes, is speaking out to warn that she is “being targeted” by her fellow WNBA players.

Auriemma Sounds Off

“Every rookie has to go through the growing pains of being a professional basketball player,” Auriemma, 70, told the CT Insider. “And the more attention you get, and today’s world attention is No. 1 and attention brings money.”

“So is she facing the rookie challenge, the rookie hardships that are inherent with being a rookie? Yes. She’s also being targeted,” he continued.

Like many others, Auriemma believes that Clark’s fellow players are simply jealous of the attention that she’s received. He thinks that veteran WNBA players are bitter that women’s basketball is only getting popular now that Clark has joined the league.

“I get it. It’s long overdue,” he said. “Why are you blaming that kid? It’s not her fault because you would trade places with her in a minute, but you are not there. You’re not her. So, you’re (complaining) that she’s getting what she’s getting?”

Check out the infamous hard foul in the video below.

Related: Ratings Show Caitlin Clark Single-Handedly Driving Record WNBA Viewership: Report

Charles Barkley And LeBron James Agree

Auriemma is far from the only famous figure who feels this way. Last month, Charles Barkley called out the “girls hating on Caitlin Clark,” saying that they are “petty.”

“I expect men to be petty, because we’re the most insecure group in the world, Y’all should be thanking that girl for getting y’all *** private charters, all the money and visibility she’s bringing to the WNBA,” he said. “Don’t be petty like dudes.”

“Y’all girls, Stop being petty,” he added. “Caitlin Clark, thank you for bringing all that money and shine to the WNBA.”

Watch Barkley talk more about this in the video below.

LeBron James also argued last month that Clark should be “celebrated.”

“That should be celebrated, and it’s because of Caitlin Clark,” he said, according to Fox News. “Don’t get it twisted. Don’t get it f—ed up. Caitlin Clark is the reason why a lot of great things are going to happen for the WNBA.”

Watch James talk more about this in the video below.

Related: Tennis Legend Billie Jean King Says Caitlin Clark Is ‘The Reason’ For Surge In WNBA Interest – ‘She’s A Superstar’

Stephen A. Smith Concurs

Longtime commentator Stephen A. Smith feels the same way.

“There are girls — young ladies — in the WNBA who are jealous of Caitlin Clark,” Smith said earlier this week.

Smith went on to say that WNBA players should be smart enough to realize that Clark’s popularity will benefit them all.

“One would think that folks would be smart enough to recognize and appreciate that about Caitlin Clark, piggyback off of that to their benefit, and praise her and support her for it while competing on the court against her and trying to take her out,” he said.

Check out his full comments on this in the video below.

Despite all of the drama surrounding her, Clark is keeping her head down and focusing on her basketball. In the 11 games she’s played in so far this season, she has averaged 15.4 points, 6.4 assists and 5.1 rebounds on 35.7% from the floor (29.7% from deep).

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