Claim that Caitlin Clark turned down Nike endorsement is satire

Social media posts claim rising US basketball star Caitlin Clark has declined multi-million dollar deals with Nike and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers due to their "woke" values. This is false; Clark signed with Nike as a collegiate player, and the allegations come from a satirical website.

"Caitlin Clark Turns Down Massive $400 Million Offer Endorsement Offer from Nike, 'I Don't Like That Kaepernick Clow,'" says a June 24, 2024 Facebook post.

Another June 23 post says: "Breaking: Caitlin Clark turns down $550 million endorsement deal with LeBron James, calling him a 'woke creep.'"

<span>Screenshots of Facebook posts taken June 27, 2024</span>
Screenshots of Facebook posts taken June 27, 2024

The claims spread elsewhere on Facebook and other websites.

Many of the posts invoke former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started a trend of athletes kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against Black Americans.

The player's 2018 ad campaign resulted in a boycott against Nike and is one reason the company was accused of adopting "woke" ideology, a culture war refrain that often plays out in controversies over social issues. AFP previously debunked posts suggesting basketball legend Michael Jordan departed from the brand over ideological differences.

Claims suggesting Clark, the Women's National Basketball Association's number one overall draft pick, turned down a multi-million dollar deal are similarly false.

Clark signed a deal with Nike in 2022 (archived here). It expired at the end of her record-breaking 2023-2024 college basketball season at the University of Iowa.

The Athletic and The Wall Street Journal reported in April 2024 that Clark was expected to sign a new deal worth more than $20 million with the brand that would include a signature shoe (archived here and here).

AFP contacted representatives for Clark and Nike for comment, but responses were not forthcoming.

'Nothing is real'

Keyword searches found the headlines shared online stem from satirical websites.

Both stories were published by, which describes its content as "fictitious" and says it "specializes in satire, parody, and humor" (archived here).

"Before you proceed to read our content, we would like to emphasize that nothing on this website is real," the website says.

The claim about James stems from a June 20 Facebook post that is also labeled as satire. However, the allegation spread in other posts without such disclaimers. 

Clark has received unprecedented attention for her rookie season with the Indiana Fever and recent omission from the USA Basketball Women's National Team's Olympic roster, making her the focal point of a larger debate about racism and misogyny.

"It's disappointing. Everybody in our world deserves the same amount of respect ... People should not be using my name to push those agendas," she told The Athletic on June 13 (archived here).

AFP previously debunked claims that Clark will play for the Canadian national basketball team at the 2024 Olympics.