LSU star Angel Reese defended the gesture she geared toward Iowa Hawkeyes’ Caitlin Clark close to the tip of the Tigers’ first NCAA ladies’s basketball national championship victory on Sunday, saying “I don’t take disrespect frivolously.”
Reese might be seen approaching Clark earlier than shifting her open hand in entrance of her face – popularized by WWE star John Cena to imply “you possibly can’t see me” – earlier than pointing to her ring finger in a gesture some interpreted as a reference to the place her newly-acquired championship ring would possibly sit.
Clark made an analogous gesture to a different participant earlier within the match.
The gesture has sparked a lot debate, particularly on social media. Some have criticized Reese, whereas others have defended her actions, highlighting how there was no public outrage in response to Clark’s gesture earlier within the match.
Sports journalist Jose de Jesus Ortiz referred to as Reese’s actions “classless,” whereas former ESPN host Keith Olbermann referred to as Reese an “fool” for the gesture.
In the press convention after the victory, Reese referenced the distinction in response she acquired on account of her gesture as in comparison with the one Clark acquired.
“All yr, I used to be critiqued for who I used to be. I don’t match the narrative,” Reese mentioned. “I don’t match the field that y’all need me to be in. I’m too hood. I’m too ghetto. Y’all informed me that each one yr. But when different folks do it, and y’all don’t say nothing.
“So that is for the women that appear to be me. For those who wish to communicate up for what they consider in. It’s unapologetically you. And that’s what I did it for tonight. It was greater than me tonight. And Twitter goes to enter a rage each time.
“And I’m comfortable. I really feel like I’ve helped develop ladies’s basketball this yr. (…) I’m wanting ahead to celebrating after which subsequent season.”
Reese had 15 factors and 10 rebounds within the 102-85 victory and gained the ladies’s March Madness’ Most Outstanding Player award.
In the post-game broadcast, Reese referenced the same gesture Clark made to a Louisville opponent within the Elite Eight.
In the identical sport, Clark mentioned to an opponent: “You’re down by 15 factors. Shut up,” based on the Bleacher Report.
“Caitlin Clark is a hell of a participant however I don’t take disrespect frivolously,” Reese mentioned. “She disrespected [LSU’s] Alexis [Morris] (…) and I needed to choose her pocket. But I had a second on the finish of her sport. I used to be in my bag, I used to be in my second.”
After the Championship sport, Clark herself mentioned she didn’t discover something on the time.
“I used to be simply making an attempt to get to the handshake line and shake palms and be grateful that my group was in that place,” Clark mentioned within the post-game press convention. “All the credit score on this planet to LSU. They had been large. They deserve it. They had an amazing season.
“(LSU head coach) Kim Mulkey coached them so, so nicely. She’s among the best basketball coaches of all time, and it reveals. She solely mentioned actually variety issues to me within the handshake line, so I’m very grateful of that too.
“But actually I don’t know. I used to be simply making an attempt to spend the previous couple of moments on the court docket with particularly the 5 those that I’ve began 93 video games with and relishing each second of that.”
LSU head coach Mulkey mentioned she had “no clue” about what transpired.
In footage: LSU wins national title in ladies’s basketball
Among these defending Reese on social media had been ESPN’s Holly Rowe and former NBA star Etan Thomas.
“People hating on Angel Reese or Caitlin Clark. Stop. Unapologetically assured younger ladies ought to be celebrated NOT hated. Get used to it,” Rowe wrote on Twitter.
Former Washington Wizards, Oklahoma City Thunder and Atlanta Hawks participant Thomas wrote: “Hold on now!!!! It was cute when Caitlin Clark did it. Y’all didn’t have any points with it in any respect. So don’t be all outraged and speaking about class and sportsmanship when Angel Reese does the identical factor. We’re not doing double requirements right here.”
Reese mentioned the adverse response on social media all through the season has helped gasoline her glorious season, having completed averaging 23.0 factors and 15.4 rebounds in her first season with LSU after transferring from Maryland.
“Twitter can say what they wish to say,” she mentioned. “I like studying these feedback. I’ve all of the screenshots of what all people has mentioned about me all season. What are you going to say now?”
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