Watch: Angel Reese Defends Vicious Hit on Caitlin Clark, Blames Refs for Fouls - 'Special Whistle'


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

In a much-anticipated WNBA matchup between the Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky, Fever guard and rookie sensation Caitlin Clark received a hard, unnecessary foul — and still went on to win the game with a clutch shot.

And Angel Reese, the other hotshot rookie in the league — this one for the Sky — is whining about the coverage of the foul, saying the refs have a “special whistle” for Clark.

It’s like it was two weeks ago. You may remember this gratuitous off-ball hip-check on Clark from Chennedy Carter, the Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Sky.

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The team tried to pretend this was something resembling clean play, an assertion even the coaching staff of the Charlestown Chiefs might dispute. However, this has been gone over in the sporting press — as well as in less-traditional venues, such as “The View” — ad nauseam, so we won’t rehash it.

Because, thankfully, the Sky decided to rehash it for us on Sunday.

This time, it wasn’t Carter committing the foul, but Reese — you know, the rookie who was cheering on the viral hip-check two weeks ago.

Is Caitlin Clark being targeted?

The play involved Clark going to the basket for a layup. The first thing noticeable to even a useless high-school basketball benchwarmer was that Clark, in all fairness, should have used her left hand for the shot; given that she was approaching the basket from the left side, shooting with her dominant right hand may have been easier if there were no opposition, but with Reese there it lent itself to an easy block on Reese’s part.

You will not be surprised to learn that the ensuing foul did not seem to be a matter of a block gone bad. Rather, Reese decided that Clark’s head — which, for those of you new to the sport of hoops, cannot actually score a point — was the more important thing to block. Hard:

After a slow-mo review, Reese was assessed with a flagrant-1 foul.

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While Isabelle Harrington managed to get a mostly clean block on Clark’s shot, Reese didn’t even try. Apparently unaware the ball was even part of the play, she smacked Clark across the head.

And again, this was a thoroughly needless foul.

In the June 1 game with the Chennedy Carter off-ball hip-check, Clark’s subsequent free-throw was the difference in a 71-70 Fever win.

Here, Harrington had the block because Clark — who, being a rookie, can make rookie mistakes — didn’t take the layup with her left hand. Reese managed to save her by smacking her upside the head for no good reason. Nice work.

Clark ended up putting the game away with a clutch 3-pointer with just over three minutes remaining, according to USA Today, giving the Fever an 84-77 lead on the way to a 91-83 win.

Clark’s Fever — the early season favorite for the worst record in the league because, aside from her and fellow No. 1 draft pick Aliyah Boston, the majority of the squad might as well be playing in Albania — is now ahead of the plummeting Sky in the standings. Indiana is 5-10 and Chicago, losers of six of its last seven, is now 4-9.

But don’t blame Angel Reese for treating layups like the UFC. Blame the refs, she said.

“A basketball play. It was a basketball play,” Reese told reporters after the game. “I can’t control the refs. They affected the game obviously a lot tonight.”

“I think we went up really strong a lot of times, and we didn’t get a lot of calls,” she added. “Going back and looking at the film, I’ve seen a lot of calls that weren’t made. I guess some people got a special whistle. But just being able to play hard as best as we can.”

Look, I can understand if this were the “Tuck Rule” call or Game 6 of the Sacramento Kings-Los Angeles Lakers Western Conference Finals in 2002. But Reese, quite literally, slapped Clark upside the head without making a play on the ball.

Full disclosure: In middle school and high school basketball, my forte was aggressive (read: rough) defense. I have a few flagrant fouls on my permanent record. I am not a professional player and, before puberty hit its blessed close, I did not exactly have the best control of my limbs. And I would have never done this.

And yet, what’s the problem? The refs, ¡por supuesto!

Again, what’s truly galling here isn’t Reese’s foul — although, really, that was bad. Rather, Reese has figured out that Clark-vs.-the-rest-of-the-WNBA has become a sociopolitical issue, if just because Clark is a straight white woman in a league where there is significant overrepresentation of LGBT individuals of color.

So, instead of taking responsibility for a brutal, stupid, unnecessary foul, Reese has learned she can pawn it off on our great national cultural division.

What’s worse, come Monday morning, we’ll hear the same flapping heads claiming that Caitlin Clark profits from privilege because the media took notice when Angel Reese deliberately tried to concuss her and didn’t even seem to know where the ball was.

The WNBA is finally having its moment in the sun. And yet, one of its budding stars wants to defend the indefensible as vigorously as she can.

I was a lumbering 16-year-old with a body too big for my reflexes when I was getting called for flagrants in the paint, and I knew why I was getting tagged with them.

Angel Reese is a contender for Rookie of the Year and, almost certainly, a future superstar. She has no excuse.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture