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Monica McNutt DEBUNKS Caitlin Clark vs. the WNBA narrative on The Daily Show

Monica McNutt DEBUNKS Caitlin Clark vs. the WNBA narrative on 'The Daily Show'

Monica McNutt and Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. / The Daily Show / YouTube
Courtesy of The Daily Show / YouTube

The ESPN sports analyst joined Jon Stewart to discuss the current state of the WNBA and her viral moment, checking Stephen A. Smith's WNBA comments.

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"the prevailing narrative that has been created ... that it’s the league versus Caitlin Clark ... is just absolutely false," McNutt said on The Daily Show.

After her viral moment checking Stephen A. Smith last week of First Take for his out-of-touch take on the WNBA, Monica McNutt joined Jon Stewart last night on The Daily Show to discuss her frustration with the new wave of WNBA coverage focused on Caitlin Clark. And it's a conversation that is long overdue.

“The conversation, Jon, it started about this foul over the weekend,” said McNutt. “Chennedy Carter for the Chicago Sky fouled Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever. And I’m not gonna lie to you Jon, if I take you through my day that morning. I get the call, or the text rather. And I’m like, ‘Are we really leading sports with this?’. Are we really leading sports with a foul? In sports? Alright, fine, let’s just do it."

This statement led to the much-needed dialogue between Stewart and McNutt, who discussed the new wave of fans and an expectation to coddle the WNBA's supposed new asset, Caitlin Clark, and gawk at the league's physicality.

"Competition should be watered down to protect the asset," McNutt pondered on The Daily Show.

Stewart then asked McNutt about the underlying dynamics of the big Caitlin Clark debate and the deeper conversation of race, class, and gender that "underlines society in many ways."

"Race, culture, and gender are things that the women of the WNBA have never shied away from," she said, referring to the Atlanta Dream's impact on the 2020 runoff election in Georgia that landed the state's first Black senator in office.

The ESPN sports analyst continued by stating, "If we have a conversation about the societal totem pole ... Black women, a large representation of queer women, like these are all things that sit at intersectional identities that we just opened [The Daily Show] talking about valuing these things, right? And so there are all these isms that have made the WNBA beautiful for 28 years, including this season ... if we for a second can take all that out, you really want to tell women how to compete and you just got here?"

Related: The Tip Off: A beginner's guide to the WNBA

McNutt also set the record straight that she is not naive to the Caitlin Clark effect, saying, "Caitlin Clark got me here." But Stewart, with the amazing tact Daily Show viewers have come to love, wouldn't let the ESPN analyst downplay herself and interjected by praising her skills and coverage of his beloved NY Knicks:

"Not true. The viral moment maybe brought you some national attention. I have been loving what you do. You are such a good basketball analyst and announcer ... That's how you got here."

Stewart and McNutt also spoke about longtime WNBA fans' apprehension of new fans who may not have the best intentions of growing the game, much like how early fans of indie bands fear a mainstream era and losing the core parts they fell in love with initially.

"We still haven't talked about the actual basketball of it, Jon," admitting that she is one of those OG WNBA supporters finding frustration in not moving beyond the Caitlin Clark storyline.

McNutt is correct with more exciting sports culture and moments to be following this season, like the Las Vegas Aces on the path to a three-peat as national champions, which has not been done since the WNBA's formative years with the Houston Comets. Or that some of the league's biggest stars, like A'ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, just graced a spread in the latest Rolling Stone issue.

In simple terms, this interview between McNutt and Stewart showcases the absurdity of pretending that one player makes up an entire league that has existed longer than she's been on this earth. In the words of Arielle (Ari) Chambers, "The WNBA is so important," but to realize that fans must hear McNutt out and see all the greatness that this league has to offer and has been offering since its inception.

Related: Angel Reese is embracing the 'bad guy' role but she shouldn't have to


Check out the entire Daily Show segment between McNutt and Stewart below.

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Daric L. Cottingham

Daric L. Cottingham (she/her), Deputy Editor of PRIDE.com, is an award-winning news, culture, and entertainment journalist. She is a proud Southern Black trans woman based in Los Angeles holding a mass communications degree from Prairie View A&M University in Texas and a master's in Sports & Entertainment journalism from the University of Southern California. Beyond her career portfolio, which includes the LA Times, Spotify, and freelancing for publications like BuzzFeed, Harper's Bazaar, ESSENCE, The Washington Post, etc., she does advocacy work as a general board member of NABJLA, striving to make the industry more inclusive for Black journalists.

Daric L. Cottingham (she/her), Deputy Editor of PRIDE.com, is an award-winning news, culture, and entertainment journalist. She is a proud Southern Black trans woman based in Los Angeles holding a mass communications degree from Prairie View A&M University in Texas and a master's in Sports & Entertainment journalism from the University of Southern California. Beyond her career portfolio, which includes the LA Times, Spotify, and freelancing for publications like BuzzFeed, Harper's Bazaar, ESSENCE, The Washington Post, etc., she does advocacy work as a general board member of NABJLA, striving to make the industry more inclusive for Black journalists.