Before and during Caitlin Clark's rookie WNBA season, much of the conversation around her has centered on everything but basketball.

While Clark has been criticized at times for play as her Indiana Fever struggle to maintain pace with other teams, many people have decided to more often speak on the role race has played in her popularity, which has led the topic of racism to dominate the WNBA. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith is one such example.

Smith, who has never been one to shy away from controversy or speaking on racial dynamics in sports, took the opportunity to do so again when Connecticut Sky player DiJonai Carrington insinuated that Clark's name is “being used to justify racism, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia & the intersectionalities of them” and that Clark is “not bothered” by it.

Carrington also said that “silence is a luxury,” seemingly accusing Clark of laying low as other WNBA players are verbally attacked.

Smith used Carrington's tweet to lay out an argument that “if you’re white, you’re bright, you’re right, and as a result, the shine comes your way in the eyes of a lot of people in America.”

OutKick tweeted a story criticizing Smith, saying that Smith “unleashed an insane rant about Donald Trump, Caitlin Clark and racism” and that “the media continues to make it a racially charged issue about her being white.”

Smith responded to this in the form of a quote-tweet: “More lies. More misrepresentations. No surprise. Caitlin was fantastic in college and will be in the pros. I’ve said this repeatedly. I say it now. Most fans know this.

“But some give her the kind of support they’d never give others — just as deserving. Not all, but some. said it. I meant it and it’s been proven. We all know this. Twist it anyway you want. But live with it. That’s America. #Facts.”

Caitlin Clark has struggled in rookie WNBA season

Indiana Fever player Caitlin Clark

Some of the conversation around Caitlin Clark seems to, in part, stem from the fact that the Fever rookie has continued to garner attention and praise despite playing poorly so far in the WNBA. While other players like A'ja Wilson and Napheesa Collier have starred this season, Clark has remained in the headlines, whether it has been beneficial for her or not.

Clark, as many expected, has struggled to adjust to the hyper-competitive WNBA. After a rough game against the Atlanta Dream on Thursday, Clark is currently averaging 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.4 steals, which on the surface are fine numbers that could even be characterized as great for a rookie.

However, Clark's efficiency has been anything but good; she is shooting just 36.7 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from 3-point range. Additionally, she leads the league in turnovers (5.5 per game).

Fortunately, the Fever have seemed to stem the proverbial bleeding after a particularly bad start to the season. Following a five-game losing streak to kick off the year, the Fever won their first game on May 24 against the Los Angeles Sparks, only for three more losses to follow.

Since dropping eight of its first nine, Indiana has traded wins and losses, going 3-2 in its last five as part of the Commissioner's Cup. Clark and the Fever have a chance to string together wins for the first time this season on Sunday at home against the Chicago Sky.