Monica McNutt Speaks Out After Viral WNBA Debate With Stephen A. Smith

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ESPN commentator Monica McNutt has further explained comments she made during a viral debate with Stephen A. Smith about the WNBA.

On Monday's (June 3) episode of First Take, McNutt called out Smith for not using his platform to boost the WNBA years ago.

The comment came as commentators discussed the treatment of WNBA rookie Caitlin Clark and the rising national attention on the league.

McNutt later appeared on the "Night Cap" podcast with Shannon Sharpe, who was also a part of Monday's debate, and Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson to discuss her comments from earlier that day.

“I think what I was frustrated by in our conversation earlier is that we can hold more than one truth, y’all,” McNutt said on the podcast. "The idea of some players being jealous, yes, that probably exists. But I think since Caitlin’s made her debut, there’s been a large and loud push that it’s been Caitlin vs. the W. And that is unfair. To me, yeah, jealous, sure. I mean, would you be jealous if someone got a $28 million shoe deal or whatever the deal is before you step foot in the pros? I just need us all to do a better job of holding room for multiple truths."

The ESPN commentator cited other NBA stars who faced rough rookie seasons.

"(Michael) Jordan as a rookie, LeBron (James) as a rookie, (Victor Wembenyama) as a rookie, when you look at guys who have gone on to be great, I’m sure they would say their rookie years weren’t cakewalk," McNutt said. “Now in the case of LeBron and Wemby this year, they have physically dominant and powerful statures and so maybe that has allowed them to skirt some of the curve. But Caitlin is a guard coming from college. She’s got to get her weight up. The W has to continue to allow her to be one of the leaders of this platform as Angel Reese has also been. My thing is it doesn’t have to be either or. It can be both. But the prevailing idea that it’s the W vs. Caitlin and these women don’t understand the power of the eyeballs the audience she’s helped grow the league to, that’s just unfair. And that’s what bothers me.”

McNutt noted that it's hard to have nuanced conversations due to the logistics of shows like First Take.

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