2024 WNBA Draft: Journalist Gregg Doyel’s exchange with Caitlin Clark at press conference goes viral, heart symbol, reaction

Caitlin Clark said she’s had a “whirlwind” week, but she probably didn’t expect an interaction with a reporter to go viral on social media.

Clark, the Iowa superstar taken first overall by the Indiana Fever in this week’s WNBA draft, held a press conference Wednesday that included an awkward question-and-answer riff with a columnist from the Indianapolis Star — and a number of people, journalists and media members, including Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, were perturbed by how the columnist conducted himself.

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During the press conference, Gregg Doyel started his interaction with Clark by saying: “Real quick, let me do this,” and according to reporters covering the event, the columnist made a heart with his hands — a signature move Clark has used on the court to signal to her family after her college games.

“You like that?” Clark responded.

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

“Yeah, I do that at my family after every game,” Clark said of the hand gesture.

Doyel then responded: “Start doing it to me and we’ll get along just fine.”

The bizarre scene was lambasted by many on social media, with Portnoy sharing a Barstool blogpost on his X account that called Doyel a “pervert.”

Portnoy wrote out a follow-up post on X to clear up his re-share.

“To clarify I meant to call Gregg Doyle a sexist pervert. Which he is based on his nauseating actions today,” Portnoy wrote on X.

Portnoy wasn’t alone in his assessment of the situation, as CBC Sports senior contributor Shireen Ahmed went as far as to say Doyel should get his credentials taken away.

“Almost every one of my women colleagues & students in sport media and sports journalism are sharing that clip of Gregg Doyel and Caitlin Clark with disgust,” Ahmed wrote on X.

“We are rightly furious and fed up. His creds should be revoked and offered to an unentitled journalist who respects women.”

Katie Mox of CBS Sports, was in the same camp.

“What happened to Caitlin Clark today at her first press conference in Indy was really gross. I hope she gets an apology,” she wrote.

Meg Linehan, a senior writer at The Athletic, called into question more than just the interaction itself.

“That Caitlin Clark video highlights a lot of things in one very small clip, but it’s also worth discussing how that’s just the tip of the iceberg — how much does that approach reflect the decision makers who still shape coverage at every level?” Linehan wrote.

After getting crushed by scores of people, Doyel issued a mea culpa on X, labelling his actions as “oafish.”

“Today in my uniquely oafish way, while welcoming @CaitlinClark22 to Indy, I formed my hands into her signature [heart hands],” he wrote. “My comment afterward was clumsy and awkward. I sincerely apologise. Please know my heart (literally and figuratively) was well-intentioned. I will do better.”

Doyel also later wrote a column on the matter.

Clark’s week included an appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” getting picked first overall in the draft, having President Biden discuss her WNBA pay and appearing on “The Pat McAfee Show” to talk about the aforementioned hectic week.

But the interaction with Doyel was probably not on the superstar’s bingo card.

This article first appeared on The New York Post and was reproduced with permission.

Originally published as ‘Furious and fed up’: Journo slammed for ‘really gross’ act to star