WNBA

Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel apologizes after awkward, uncomfortable interaction with Caitlin Clark

Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel apologizes after awkward, uncomfortable interaction with Caitlin Clark

Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel apologized for a very awkward interaction with new Indiana Fever star Caitlin Clark on Wednesday.

Doyel went to ask Clark a question at her introductory news conference Wednesday afternoon, just days after she was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft. But before he started to ask his question, he made a heart with his hands at Clark — which is something she would flash to her family in the stands at every Iowa game throughout her college career.

That led to a very awkward and uncomfortable interaction between the two.

“Real quick, let me do this,” Doyel said before flashing the heart sign at Clark.

“You like that?” Clark asked.

“I like that you’re here. I like that you’re here,” Doyel replied.

“I do that at my family after every game, so,” Clark said.

“OK, well start doing that to me and we’ll get along just fine,” Doyel said.

Clark’s face at the end said it all.

Gregg Doyel flashed a heart sign at Caitlin Clark at her introductory news conference Wednesday afternoon to kick off an incredibly uncomfortable back-and-forth. (AP/Darron Cummings)

Naturally, Doyel’s comments led to very strong backlash from fans and other media members on social media. Criticism ranged from simply being uncomfortable watching the exchange to wondering if Doyel or other media members would treat an NBA player the same way.

Just a few hours later, Doyel apologized — and he plugged an upcoming column on the incident as he did so.

“Today in my uniquely oafish way, while welcoming Caitlin Clark to Indy, I formed my hands into her signature [heart],” Doyel wrote. “My comment afterward was clumsy and awkward. I sincerely apologize.

“Please know my heart (literally and figuratively) was well-intentioned. I will do better.”

Doyle apologized further in his column Wednesday night, where he said he was "devastated to realize I’m part of the problem."

Clark, after a dominant run at Iowa, was selected by the Fever with the top pick in the WNBA Draft on Monday night. She'll now join Aliyah Boston and be tasked with leading the Fever back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Though she didn't win a national title with the Hawkeyes, Clark helped bring more attention to the sport than just about anyone else in recent memory this past season. The Hawkeyes set three straight viewership records in their final three games of the NCAA tournament, and their national championship loss to South Carolina drew a record 18.7 million viewers. The WNBA Draft shattered its own viewership record with nearly 2.5 million viewers on Monday night, too. As a result, the Fever will have 36 of their 40 regular season games on national television this summer.

Clark and the Fever will open the regular season against the Connecticut Sun on May 14.

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