Is there a double standard when it comes to LSU champion Angel Reese?

The LSU Tigers made history by winning their first championship game, but Angel Reese's "unsportsmanlike" behavior was the topic of conversation.

The Louisiana State University Tigers made history by winning their first NCAA Women’s Division I basketball championship.

During the game, LSU star Angel Reese made the “you can’t see me” gesture to rival Iowa player Caitlin Clark. The “trash-talking” had multiple media outlets and social media commentators immediately calling Reese “ghetto” and “unsportsmanlike.”

Angel Reese of the LSU Tigers reacts toward Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes during the fourth quarter of the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game.

During a Louisiana game earlier in the tournament, Clark said, “You’re down by 15 points, shut up,” and people called her a queen. She even used the same “you can’t see me” motion that got Reese into hot water during that game.

The blatant double standard in the way Reese and Clark were treated certainly wasn’t missed in the sports world. Both players are known to trash talk, but privilege seems to play a big part in how one person is treated versus the other.

What about that White House invitation?

After winning the championship, traditionally, the winner is invited to the White House. Instead, First Lady Jill Biden invited both LSU and the losing team: the University of Iowa. In a recent tweet, that was since deleted, Reese called the suggestion “A JOKE.” She went on to tell the Paper Route Podcast that she’d rather go visit Barack and Michelle Obama instead.

Because the runner-up never gets invited, is this something that is rooted in not only privilege but racism as well? In a recent interview with theGrio with Eboni K. Williams, TV personality and radio host Shari Nycole weighs in.

Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Lady Tigers celebrates with a teammate after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 102–85 during the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game at American Airlines Center on April 2, 2023, in Dallas. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

As a former athlete, Nycole says she was kicked out of a game when she was in grade school for being celebratory. 

“I know how it feels to be a Black girl who’s moving and grooving and great in her sport and being essentially punished for it,” Nycole says. 

We’ve seen this time and time again with superstar athletes like Serena Williams and now Reese, but when will Black women in sports be able to participate in typical game-talk banter like their white counterparts?

Tune into “theGrio with Eboni K. Williams” at 6 p.m. ET every weeknight on theGrio cable channel.

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