Lefty sports columnist Mike Freeman took to the pages of USA Today on Monday to complain that basketball star Caitlin Clark got a shoe deal after she ended her college basketball career and headed into the WNBA.

According to a variety of reports, Clark is expected to earn her own signature shoe deal. CNN, for instance, reported on Monday that Nike is preparing to offer the Iowa women’s basketball star a shoe deal worth up to $28 million over eight years.

But to Freeman, this is an insult to black players.

In his editorial on Monday, Freeman goes on the attack, writing, “In a majority-Black league, there are currently no Black players with signature shoes.”

“If she does,” Freeman writes of Clark’s pending shoe deal, “Clark would join only three other WNBA players with signature shoes: Breanna Stewart, Elena Delle Donne, and Sabrina Ionescu. You may notice a pattern there.”

What could that “pattern” be? Those players are all white women.

Cameron Brink and Caitlin Clark pose for a photo during the 2024 WNBA Draft on April 15, 2024, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York. (Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Freeman admits that between 1995 and 2011, every signature shoe coming out of the WNBA belonged to a black woman. But today, there are three WNBA players with a shoe deal, and if Clark gets hers, that will make four. And all four are white women. Oh, the humanities.

Freeman goes on to point out that the current lack of a shoe deal for any black WNBA players “shows how Black women are being ignored in a league that they dominate.”

Naturally, Freeman did not address why it was perfectly fine for “diversity, equity, and inclusion” that no white female ever had a shoe deal for most of the existence of the WNBA.

Indeed, Freeman insists that “you are a fool” if you think that the reason these four white women have (or are about to get) a shoe deal is because they are the league’s stars.

The columnist points to A’ja Wilson as the prime example of a star who doesn’t have a shoe deal. And Freeman contends it is because she is black.

A’ja Wilson #22 of the Las Vegas Aces dribbles against Jonquel Jones #35 of the New York Liberty in the fourth quarter during Game Four of the 2023 WNBA Finals at Barclays Center on October 18, 2023 in New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

While Freeman tries to backtrack by saying Clark deserves her success, he insists, “Wilson deserves it more and has for some time. She is, after all, the best overall player in the world.”

It’s all because of racism, Freeman exclaims.

“What so much of this comes down to is a lack of respect for the Black women of the WNBA. A lack of respect for Black Americans overall isn’t something new to the marketing world. This is old hat. That doesn’t change the ugliness of it,” he claimed.

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