Caitlin Clark caught in the crossfire as Aces owner continues to blast WNBA amid investigation

Las Vegas is being probed for a sponsorship deal it made.

Caitlin Clark caught in the crossfire as Aces owner continues to blast WNBA amid investigation

The Las Vegas Aces want respect, and they believe they have earned it after claiming consecutive WNBA titles in 2022 and in 2023.

Led by the star trio of Kelsey Plum, A’ja Wilson, and Jackie Young, the Aces are hoping to become the first WNBA team to three-peat since the defunct Houston Comets in 1999 — but they will have to stave off controversy and a pending WNBA investigation in order to do so.

The WNBA is looking into a $1.2 million sponsorship deal that the Aces have struck with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which resulted in all 12 of their players receiving a $100,000 bonus. Amid fears that the Aces attempted to circumvent the salary cap with this deal, team owner Mark Davis has spoken out — and he has taken the WNBA to task over how it has approached its relationship with star rookie Caitlin Clark.

Davis believes there is a double standard

In conversation with CBS Sports, Davis denied that the Aces did anything wrong, and he called out the WNBA’s leadership for its cozy relationship with the fresh-faced Clark — whose college career at Iowa broke viewership records and generated new interest in women’s basketball.

“Nike is an owner of the WNBA and they’re allowed to sponsor Caitlin Clark for $28 million on one player,” Davis said. “And nobody’s complaining or investigating.”

Granted, Davis did qualify his comments by saying that Nike’s Clark deal is “great,” recognizing the Indiana Fever rookie’s role in helping to grow the women’s game exponentially in such a short period of time.

However, Davis rightly wanted to highlight the Aces’ achievements as two-time defending WNBA champions, with the league’s most imposing collection of elite talent.

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“Let’s give credit to where credit’s due: Las Vegas Convention Authority is stepping up and recognizing these women,” Davis said.

Davis’ comments set up another fascinating undercurrent when the Aces host the Fever on Saturday night at Michelob Ultra Arena, with Indiana still in search of its first win since drafting Clark #1 overall last month. The rematch in July has already been moved to T-Mobile Arena — home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights — as even the Aces have sought to capitalize on Clark’s celebrity.

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