Analysis, Commentary

Why Are Josh Allen and Caitlin Clark ‘Loved/Hated’?

Featured Photo Credit: © Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK via, LLC.

As I See It.

Two of my favorite athletes to watch over the past 4-5 years have a lot in common, for a variety of reasons, and their greatness in both cases leads to resentment and sometimes even hate.

Why is that?

I’m talking about Josh Allen in general and Caitlin Clark more specifically because the Women’s NCAA tournament is in full swing. My guess is that if you’re any kind of sports fan, you’ll recognize the name of Caitlin Clark, and if you don’t already know who Josh Allen is, you’d better stop right here and find something better to do.

I’d like to thank my sponsors first: Atwal Eye Care, which performed cataract surgery on both my eyes a few months ago with incredible results. 

Also BluTusk Tech in Orchard Park, which can fix anything wrong with your current computer, or fix you up with a new one.

Back to Clark/Allen.

Allen is an established NFL quarterback who’s still looking for that first big championship, the Super Bowl, after becoming the Bills franchise QB when drafted 7th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Allen has been sensational, but can’t be put in GOAT territory until he wins “the BIG one”‘: For me, the most fun NFL players to watch besides Allen are Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, but with three rings, Mahomes is the leader in the clubhouse.

Does this mean Allen is a failure? Sean McDermott should be fired as the SB “window” gets narrower? An emphatic NO on both counts. Will Clark be a “loser” if Iowa doesn’t get the ring? Absurd.

Clark is not new on the scene, except her list of admirers skyrocketed after her Junior season of women’s basketball at Iowa. She’s a 6 foot, 155 pound magician, and arguably the best player in the history of women’s college hoops. Her list of awards and honors is like the line at a Disney ride; it goes on an on and just when you think you’re there, it keeps going.

Every team Iowa faces has a bullseye on #22 Clark, and 8th seed West Virginia smothered the usually potent Iowa offense and made it a game until the final minute of their NCAA Women’s 2nd round game at Iowa City. Iowa won it 64-54, with Clark netting 32 points. But WVA was physically all over Clark, as officials let them play, and it resulted in holding a team that averaged over 90 a game to 64.

Now Iowa moves to the Sweet 16 and meets #5 seed Colorado Saturday in Albany.

But is Clark really THAT good? If you’ve actually watched her play and aren’t convinced, then it’s pointless to debate the subject. Even when she’s a bit off, she’s great.

In all honesty, I didn’t watch much women’s hoops until I began watching Clark’s games. Yes, her long range accuracy is incredible, but it’s how she controls the game by facilitating her teammates for buckets. She’s the Wayne Gretzky of women’s basketball, with an uncanny sense of ice/floor awareness. They know not only where you ARE, but where you will be in 3 seconds.

We can’t compare the NBA and WNBA, but IMO, it’s accurate to say Clark is every bit as important to the women’s game as Michael Jordan and Lebron James are for the men. In truth, maybe even more as you’ll see in a moment.

Caitlin, who capped her brilliant Junior season with a 30 point, 8 assist title game loss to LSU (102-85), is in the same boat with Allen in terms of winning “the BIG one”. She’s still looking for it.

Clark’s success on the floor is nothing short of phenomenal, yet she has lots of critics. She shoots too much, she over reacts to contact at times and is the subject of other criticisms that aren’t even worth mentioning and are beyond her control. Lip readers easily caught her saying “shut the f— up” after a bucket late in the WVA game. As Dick Enberg would say, “oh my”!

She’s actually making more $ in college with her NIL endorsements than current WNBA players, but is that HER fault? Clark now earns over $3 million per year, and that will skyrocket if Iowa wins the title. 

As the first overall pick in the WNBA – which has a salary cap – she’ll make under $100,000 a year. The highest paid players in the WNBA are around the $250,000 mark. They don’t like it, but their attendance and TV ratings lag the NBA by a wide margin.

Here’s how crazy the disparity is. In the NBA, Stephen Curry of the Golden St Warriors makes $51.9 million per year.

But Clark is about to have a positive impact for ALL her new teammates. Iowa’s Big10 Championship win over Nebraska drew over 4 million TV viewers, which is fantastic news for CBS. Sort of. CBS is now negotiating a new WNBA contract, and Clark’s impact is already having a profound effect on the $ numbers, which will boost everybody in the WNBA.

Photo of Caitlin Clark by © Julia Hansen/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK via, LLC.

A quick aside here: what’s the deal comparing Clark’s scoring records with those of former LSU/NBA great Pistol Pete Maravich? She didn’t ask for this and doesn’t deserve it. Totally apples and oranges. Stupid.

Again, why is it that greatness is hated by some media and fans? The vitriol for Tom Brady is unbelievable to me, even in Buffalo. Yes, he ruined a lot of our dreams by being in the same division, but c’mon, is it all luck?

Allen and Clark draw attention to themselves by being great at what they do. I’m including Allen in the discussion because most of you reading this are Bills fans. There are some valid comparisons. Everything they do or say is magnified. These type athletes have an inner confidence and inner drive that is impossible to measure, and that confident demeanor is often interpreted as cocky and arrogant. They just can’t hide it. They also know they can’t do it alone, and they make sure to give teammates credit when it’s due.

But when the camera is always focused on you even during time outs, you’ll see things that are cringeworthy.

This makes excellent fodder for the media, especially social media and opinion pod casters and bloggers. Focusing on the negatives generates clicks and views. The haters are always more vocal than the true believers too. 

But why the hate? The social media especially thrives on any negative development that can be seen as failure or weakness.

Allen ditched his hs girlfriend for a movie star, and even though it hasn’t exploded like the Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce romance, it is being judged with mixed reactions. None of these people asked for the attention, although in the Swift/Kelce case it’s not discouraged either.

I mean, c’mon!

However, there are some aspects of their drive for perfection that annoy fans, and I include myself in that category.

Allen and Clark remind me of each other in terms of temperament. Neither one of them shies away from revealing their feelings during a contest, and only a robot would do that. They’re human. They also make little gestures to the opponent at times that aren’t appreciated, yet many people don’t realize that that is a part of the competition. Both enjoy trash talking. It’s about intimidation. Domination. Their teammates love it. Clark’s “You can’t see me” face gesture during the Elite 8 game against Louisville last year was noticed by the LSU team, and especially tournament MVP Angel Reese, who mimicked the gesture towards Clark after their 102-85 title game win.

For background, John Cena, a pro wrestler, began using the gesture years ago to imply that opponents had no chance because he was so fast “You can’t see me”. Clark has used it many times, but Reese made it clear it wasn’t appreciated. Was Clark wrong? Was Reese wrong? You decide that one because it’s not my point about why star athletes are often misunderstood and targets of resentment.

It boils down to this:

Both tend to over exaggerate the effects of being contacted or hit – soccer anyone? – and both are viewed as sometimes whiney about the officiating. I think both things are true, and yet at times, both have valid points. A technical foul called on Clark in the 3rd quarter of the title game vs LSU was incredibly harsh, and gave Clark her 4th foul. She was visibly upset. Allen was once openly tripped for a sack in a game against the Chiefs and let it be known. Emphatically. Was he wrong?

It’s not easy to be a star, and be expected to have a perfect demeanor in the heat of the moment.

Let stars star! Save the hate for those who actually deserve it.

Thanks again to Atwal Eye Care, and BluTusk Tech in Orchard Park for sponsoring my blogs, and we’ll see ya soon.

Editor’s babble: Right on, Ed Kilgore! What a treasure we are blessed to share with you by publishing Ed Kilgore’s contributions to our blog. You can also find Ed on Xwitter @Kilgore2Ed. is sponsored by 26 Shirts

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