caitlin clark olympics
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The most recognizable women’s basketball player in the world, Caitlin Clark, has been left off the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball roster due to veteran player concerns about how fans would react to her getting limited playing time.

Multiple outlets reported on the decision over the weekend, confirming that the Indiana Fever star was deprived of the opportunity to represent her country at the Olympic games in Paris, France this summer.

Perhaps most remarkably is the reported reasoning behind that decision.

Two sources close to USA Basketball told USA Today reporter Christine Brennan “concern over how Clark’s millions of fans would react to what would likely be limited playing time on a stacked roster was a factor in the decision-making.”

ESPN reports that Diana Taurasi will compete in her sixth Olympics at age 42. She will be joined by Phoenix Mercury teammate Brittney Griner.

Griner hasn’t competed on the international stage since she had an extended stay in Russia.

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Caitlin Clark Left Off US Olympics Team

So let me get this straight. Veteran players on Team USA didn’t want to deal with Caitlin Clark’s fans being upset about limited playing time at the Olympics … so they decided to give her 0 minutes?

Makes sense.

I’m going to guess that had Clark gone to Paris and averaged 5 minutes per game and was able to hoist up a couple of threes in the process, absolutely nobody would have batted an eye.

Instead, they opted to keep her off the team, thereby ensuring her fans are now furious. Brilliant!

“If true, that would be an extraordinary admission of the tension that this multi-million-dollar sensation, who signs autographs for dozens of children before and after every game, has caused for the old guard of women’s basketball,” Brennan writes.

So tense are the players that they “spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.”

Maybe these veteran players simply didn’t want to seem, as Charles Barkley might say, “petty.”

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Playing Time

As “stacked” as Team USA is for the Olympics, it’s not exactly clear why Caitlin Clark wouldn’t get at least some playing time to satiate her fans.

The WNBA is presumably the best women’s basketball league in the world, yes? The Fever guard gets playing time in the heat of that intense competition.

In fact, she’s currently ranked 9th in minutes per game. It seems she can hold her own.

Still, who wants the biggest star in the game drawing attention to the sport that these veterans spent years trying to popularize? Who needs that noise? Amirite?

The WNBA is experiencing explosive growth in ticket sales and television ratings. But apparently, Team USA would rather remain anonymous on the world stage instead of being global ambassadors to the sport they love.

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