Women’s Group Says Pat McAfee’s Apology for Racist & Sexist Comments on WNBA Players & Caitlin Clark is Insufficient

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 4, 2024

CONTACT: Brett Abrams | brett@unbendablemedia.com

Women’s Group Says Pat McAfee’s Apology for Racist & Sexist Comments on WNBA Players & Caitlin Clark is Insufficient 

Warns McAfee Has Pattern of Promoting Problematic Falsehoods; Urges ESPN & Disney to Fire Host

Statement from Kathy Plate, spokesperson for UltraViolet, a leading national gender justice organization: 

“Pat McAfee’s apology for his racist and sexist comments about Caitlin Clark and other WNBA players is insufficient. The simple reality is that even if McAfee meant what he said as a compliment – he should know that referring to any professional athlete with a misogynistic or racial epithet is never a compliment and shouldn’t be done. 

“But it’s about more than just the specific words he chose to describe Caitlin Clark. His entire segment, which he has said he stands behind and doesn’t apologize for, was used to downplay the contributions of other WNBA rookies including Angel Reese, and perpetuate a dangerous narrative rooted in misogynoir that the WNBA, a league dominated by Black women for years, is being “saved” by Clark, when both profits and viewership have been on the rise prior to the start of this season. 

“Coupled with McAfee’s pattern of promoting problematic falsehoods – including platforming Aaron Rodgers and allowing him to spread conspiracy theories about the coronavirus or Jeffrey Epstein – demonstrate that McAfee simply does not have the necessary judgment that sports fans deserve. 

“Not only does McAfee deserve to be fired, but Disney needs to ensure that ESPN commits to a culture where commentators will no longer be allowed to spew sexist and racist remarks. That should be the minimum standard that sports fans should expect from their commentators and that ESPN and Disney should expect from their hosts. It is hard to ask for anything less when we recall that ESPN is the same network that suspended Jemele Hill for calling President Trump a white supremacist.  

“We urge ESPN and Disney to fire Pat McAfee and take action to clean up its news room and frankly do a better job of covering women’s sports in an unbiased way.”

Tens of thousands of UltraViolet members have signed a petition urging major broadcasters like ESPN, Warner, and Ion to stop underpaying the WNBA (and other women’s athletic leagues) and pay more for the WNBA’s broadcast rights in the upcoming 2025 contract.  

# # # # #