Chicago Tribune editorial goes overboard with Chennedy Carter-Caitlin Clark dustup

The aftermath of Chennedy Carter (left) shoving Caitlin Clark to the ground. (Getty Images)

Follows a pattern of nonsense and racism within the Chicago Tribune opinion pages – including from John Kass

Over the years at T Dog Media, I’ve taken the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board to task for some stupid and bad takes from a piece on Dancing With The Stars to complaining about warm weather in January, and everything in between.

But unlike those absurd pieces, the recent editorial from the usually conservative Chicago Tribune Editorial Board published a far serious opinion piece Monday evening – one that’s generating accusations of racism by readers.

On Saturday, Chicago Sky player Chennedy Carter purposely shoved Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark onto the floor in a non-basketball play in a heavily hyped matchup between the two WNBA teams. The foul was upgraded to a “flagrant one” and sparked heated discussion across the country, especially on sports talk radio and TV morning shows Monday.

But the Tribune took things a step further, referring to the play as an “assault” had it happened outside of a basketball court. The piece generated significant backlash on social media, including from Tribune Sky beat writer Julia Poe.

“I cannot overstate the depth of my disappointment in this piece,” she said on X. “The editorial board operates completely separately from the sports section. There is no oversight from myself or our staff. This is not a reflection of how we will cover the Sky.”

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board suggested that Chennedy Carter should have been ejected from the game. They also criticized two panelists from The View who sided with her. While the hard foul was a bad look for a team already getting criticized by some in local Chicago media circles for their attitude toward them, the editorial was over-the-top in protecting Clark, calling her competition “rule-breakers” in a league that’s 70 percent Black.

This is not the first time the Chicago Tribune editorial and opinion pages have stirred racial controversy. In 2020, two controversial columns from John Kass on “Democratic-run cities” like Chicago were criticized for using racist stereotypes, raising the ire of several Chicago Tribune journalists (Kass left the paper in a buyout shortly thereafter.) In 2015, ex-columnist Kristen McQueary suggested Chicago should be hit with a “hurricane-like event” to refresh the city, similar to what happened in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, which many readers said had racist overtones.

Back in December 1987, the editorial board ripped supporters of Mayor Harold Washington after a raucous night when his mostly white political opponents – many of them who held him at bay during the “Council Wars” era – installed Eugene Sawyer as “acting mayor” a week after his death. The paper said, “High-ranking members of Mr. Washington’s administration – people who like to cloak themselves in righteousness, packed the council galleries with noisy thugs… a pet Mayor Daley tactic that once made them squeal.” It helps to note most of Washington’s supporters were Black at a time when racial divisions roiled the city, especially at the time of his death. The paper was also a regular critic of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., especially when he briefly lived and marched in Chicago in 1966 for open housing rights in hostile then-white neighborhoods on the Southwest Side.

During the height of the racial reckoning in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, I wrote a piece stating there should be more diversity in media, especially in Chicago. Four years later, we are no closer to achieving that goal than we were then as the makeup of the all-white Chicago Tribune Editorial Board attests – in fact, diversity attempts are being rolled back, if the recent shellacking at WBEZ is any indication, canceling programs and dumping an entire radio format because they drew too much of a Black audience.

But at least the editorial board didn’t call Chennedy Carter “a thug”. Progress, I suppose – according to them.


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