LSU star Angel Reese defended the gesture she aimed toward Iowa Hawkeyes’ Caitlin Clark close to the top of the Tigers’ first NCAA girls’s basketball nationwide championship victory on Sunday, saying “I don’t take disrespect frivolously.”
Reese may very well be seen approaching Clark earlier than shifting her open hand in entrance of her face – popularized by WWE star John Cena to imply “you may’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 activities journalist Jose de Jesus Ortiz known as Reese’s actions “classless,” whereas former ESPN host Keith Olbermann known as Reese an “fool” for the gesture.
Within the press convention after the victory, Reese referenced the distinction in response she obtained because of her gesture as in comparison with the one Clark obtained.
“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 every one yr. However when different folks do it, and y’all don’t say nothing.
“So that is for the women that appear to be me. For people who need to communicate up for what they consider in. It’s unapologetically you. And that’s what I did it for tonight. It was larger than me tonight. And Twitter goes to enter a rage each time.
“And I’m pleased. I really feel like I’ve helped develop girls’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 received the ladies’s March Insanity’ Most Excellent Participant award.
Within 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,” in accordance with 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. However 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 attempting to get to the handshake line and shake fingers and be grateful that my crew was in that place,” Clark mentioned within the post-game press convention. “All of the credit score on the earth to LSU. They have been large. They deserve it. They’d an amazing season.
“(LSU head coach) Kim Mulkey coached them so, so properly. She’s the most effective basketball coaches of all time, and it reveals. She solely mentioned actually form issues to me within the handshake line, so I’m very grateful of that too.
“However actually I don’t know. I used to be simply attempting to spend the previous few moments on the courtroom with particularly the 5 folks 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 nationwide title in girls’s basketball
Amongst these defending Reese on social media have been ESPN’s Holly Rowe and former NBA star Etan Thomas.
“Individuals hating on Angel Reese or Caitlin Clark. Cease. Unapologetically assured younger girls needs to be celebrated NOT hated. Get used to it,” Rowe wrote on Twitter.
Former Washington Wizards, Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder and Atlanta Hawks participant Thomas wrote: “Maintain 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 damaging 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 need 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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