“You Can’t Do That In The Women’s Game” | Candace Parker Says Women’s Basketball Is Hurt By Overprotective Gatekeepers That Won’t Allow Criticism

Candace Parker has a rare position in the game as the lone woman filling one of eight seats at TNT as a credible NBA analyst. She has a strong voice as an analyst and is a powerful advocate for women in sports and life. 

The star forward for the Las Vegas Aces, who’s also recognized as one of the most talented and transcending WNBA players in history, appeared on “The Why with Dwyane Wade” podcast on iHeart, and spoke the truth that needed to be spoken about women’s basketball. 

Candace Parker Says People Need To Allow Criticism Of Woman’s Basketball

While Candace is the first person to challenge sexist views and comments about women’s basketball, she also says that the overprotectiveness toward the game has hurt women’s hoops in its struggle to be respected by people who prefer the NBA game. 

“I don’t think there’s enough scrutiny about our play,” she told D-Wade.  

“As a woman… because the game has been attacked so much by people sitting in their basement that they can’t dunk a donut let alone a basketball. There’s the ones who have driven the narrative that nobody watches women’s sports and women’s basketball is terrible. They say all of these terrible things on X, so many people have become protective of the game of basketball that they cannot take criticism and nobody is allowed to criticize the game,” Parker said.

Candace Parker Says Women’s Basketball Too Overprotective

That defensiveness Parker speaks of comes from years of negative comments about women’s hoops and negative comparisons to the men’s game. 

Right now women’s college basketball is riding the wave of NIL popularity and social media-driven celebrity status for several of its top players. 

LSU’s Angel Reese and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark are two of the players driving this women’s basketball surge. 

After a 2023 national title clash that captivated the basketball world, Iowa and LSU are set to run it back in the Elite Eight. 

Clark and No. 1 seed Iowa thumped No. 5 seed Colorado Saturday 89-68 in a Sweet 16 matchup. That game followed No. 3 seed LSU’s gritty 78-69 win over No. 2 UCLA. 

These two stars will meet in a Monday regional final with a trip to the Final Four at stake.

Keep The Same Energy For Men’s and Women’s Hoops

And Parker doesn’t want people to analyze the women any less intensely or enthusiastically.

She wants the same criticism and game-related analysis that the men get. 

“But guess what? I want to criticize on the first morning show, is D-Wade going to get to the basket or the free throw line or settle for catch-and-shoot?” said Parker, giving an example of the kind of analysis she wants to see for the women’s game. 

“You can’t do that in the women’s game.” 

“But there’s also a line where if a woman makes a mistake it’s like go make a sandwich in the kitchen. I’m cool if you attack my words and my play and my facts, but when you start telling me I should be making sandwiches in the kitchen, that is crazy.”

Some Men Cross The Line

Parker says some men cross the line when discussing women’s sports and draws the conversation away from the court into personal gender attacks. She also mentioned that when Black men do it, it’s especially painful. 

“When I see it’s a Black man doing this but then the next tweet is about how Black people don’t need to be told to shut up and dribble… You want to see (this support)  when you are a minority but don’t want to see it when you can actually be a voice of change.” 

Parker used Stephen A. Smith as an example of the inequity in men and women reporting the same game. 

“Stephen A can sit up there and they never attack him for being Black because that’s off topic. But me, they’ll attack me being a woman and say go back to playing your role even though Stepehn A has never dribbled a basketball in the NBA,” Parker said.

Parker says 20 years from now people will look back on how women’s basketball was talked about by men on various radio stations and be able to cancel half of the commentators around, same as how so many people with outdated views were canceled when America had its five-minute awakening a few years back.

What she really wants is for the women’s game to be treated just like the men’s game. With the same critical analysis, praise and seriousness. That includes being criticized and being able to accept the criticism without feeling personally attacked. 

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