Fact Check: Team USA Did NOT Lose $60 Million In Endorsements After Caitlin Clark 'Snub' -- Claim From Satire Site

Fact Check

  • by: Kaiyah Clarke
Fact Check: Team USA Did NOT Lose $60 Million In Endorsements After Caitlin Clark 'Snub' -- Claim From Satire Site Satire Account

Did Team USA lose $60 million in endorsements after Caitlin Clark was not placed on the 2024 USA Basketball Women's Olympic Team? No, that's not true: the Indiana Fever WNBA player is indeed not on the team but the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee told Lead Stories that the claim about losing endorsements is "not true." A representative of USA Basketball also confirmed to Lead Stories it is a "false story." It originated on a Facebook page that publishes satirical content.

The claim about the supposed loss in Team USA endorsements appeared in a post on Facebook on June 13, 2024. The caption said:

Eleven companies have dropped their sponsorship of USA Basketball in the past few days.
'They've disappointed a lot of people.

This is what the post on Facebook looked like at the time of writing:

ALLOD Caitlin Clark Snub Image 2.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Jun 21 23:01:39 2024 UTC)

The post displays a side-by-side image of Caitlin Clark and the 1996 USA Basketball Women's Olympic Team -- not the 2024 team (archived here).

The post's 1996 team photo also can be seen in an ESPN press release (archived here) about an ESPN Films' documentary on the 1996 USA Basketball Women's Olympic Team.

Above these images in the post on Facebook, there is white text that reads:

Team USA Loses $60 Million in Endorsements After the Caitlin Clark Snub: 'We Can't Back That Decision'

The "snub" refers to USA Basketball's June 2024 decision not to include the 22-year-old Clark, a college basketball celebrity, on the U.S. Olympic basketball team.

The author of the post continued in the comment section:

It's true, patriots. Companies are backing out left and right. First, it was Ultra-Right Beer, the company that sold like 40 six packs for $80 each and shipped some of them eight months later, and Cracker Barrel. Because they're hoping to get some Boomers back after the bench incident of 2023. IYKYK.

There are probably more, but I'm currently too busy framing the ceiling in my breakfast nook, paid for wholly by potato farming, to focus on any others. Let's go with Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A by default and just move on, m'kay? God Bless America.

Under Categories on the About page of the America's Last Line of Defense (ALLOD) Facebook account, it reads:

Satire/Parody · Entertainment website

Lead Stories contacted the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee organization (USOPC) for a statement confirming or denying this claim's validity. In a June 21, 2024, email, USOPC Communications wrote:

The claims are not true and completely unsubstantiated.

Lead Stories also contacted USA Basketball, which announced the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team, for a response to the claim. In a June 21, 2024, email, USA Basketball Director of Communications Michael Terry answered:

This is a false story.

America's Last Line of Defense

The website that is the origin of the false claim about Team USA's loss of endorsements is part of the America's Last Line of Defense network of satire websites run by self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. He runs several websites and Facebook pages with visible satire disclaimers everywhere. They mostly publish made-up stories with headlines specifically created to trigger Republicans, conservatives and evangelical Christians into angrily sharing or commenting on the story on Facebook without actually reading the full article, exposing them to mockery and ridicule by fans of the sites and pages.

Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):

About Satire
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":

The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites that omit the satire disclaimer and other hints the stories are fake. One of the most persistent networks of such sites is run by a man from Pakistan named Kashif Shahzad Khokhar (aka "DashiKashi") who has spammed hundreds of such stolen stories into conservative and right-wing Facebook pages in order to profit from the ad revenue.

When fact checkers point this out to the people liking and sharing these copycat stories some of them get mad at the fact checkers instead of directing their anger at the foreign spammers or the liberal satire writers. Others send a polite "thank you" note, which is much appreciated.

Other fact check agencies have also reviewed this claim, including Snopes and Reuters.

In a June 17, 2024, fact check, Lead Stories debunked a separate claim that Caitlin Clark replaced Brittney Griner on the USA Women's Olympic Basketball Team.

Additional fact checks that mention the USOPC can be read here.

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  Kaiyah Clarke

Kaiyah Clarke is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Journalism. When she is not fact-checking or researching counter-narratives in society, she is often found reading a book on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Read more about or contact Kaiyah Clarke

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