ESPN4 minutes to read
LSU star Angel Reese said Friday she will visit the White House with her team, days after she suggested they celebrate the national championship with former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama instead of President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden.
Reese made the motion after she said she was not inclined to accept an apology from Jill Biden for suggesting that both LSU and Iowa’s runner-up be invited to the White House. President Biden hasn’t pursued that idea, calling only LSU and men’s national champion Connecticut.
LSU confirmed Thursday that it has accepted President Biden’s invitation to visit the White House. There is no set date for the visit.
On Friday, Reese said she would be attending with her team.
“In the beginning we were hurt – it was emotional because we know how hard we worked all year for everything,” Reese said Friday at the Sports Centre.
“Don’t get this experience [to go to the White House] Not at all, and I know my team would probably want to make sure of that and my coaches support that, so I’m going to do what’s best for the team and we’ve decided we’ll go.
“I am a team player. I will do what is best for the team. I am the captain.”
After LSU won, Coach Kim Mulkey said she would go to the White House if invited.
Vanessa Valdivia, a spokesperson for Jill Biden, said the first lady did not mean to disrespect LSU and that her comments were meant to pay tribute to the historic game and all sports. With a 102-85 victory over the Hawkeyes, LSU’s point total was the most scored in a championship game by a single team. His total of 187 broke the previous mark. The game also drew a television audience of 9.9 million, a record for an NCAA women’s game.
In an appearance in Denver on Monday, Jill Biden praised Iowa’s sportsmanship and congratulated both teams. She also said that as part of the longstanding tradition of the champions visiting the White House, Iowa State should also come “because they played such a good game.”
Reese called Jill Biden’s proposal on Monday a “joke.”
Some commenters on social media pointed to the racial dynamics involved, saying that the winners should only be rewarded with a visit to the White House and that hosting both teams would detract from the achievement of the LSU team, which is predominantly black. Iowa’s team is largely white. Others pointed to the important role of black women in Democratic Party politics.
President Biden was Obama’s running mate and vice president for eight years. Meanwhile, Obama actively campaigned for Biden in the 2020 election.
Reese faced criticism on social media for waving a mocking hand in front of her face while staring at Iowa star Caitlin Clark near the end of the game. Clark, the Associated Press Player of the Year, didn’t make a similar gesture to anyone in particular during Iowa’s victory over Louisville in the Elite Eight.
Reese said she doesn’t think LSU, had it lost to Iowa, would have received the same praise from Jill Biden as the Hawks did.
She added, “If we lose, we will not be invited to the White House.” “I remember her making a comment about both teams having to be invited because of sportsmanship. And I’m like, ‘Are you saying that because of what you did?'” Things like that, it bothers me because you’re a woman at the end of the day. White, black, it doesn’t matter, you’re a woman, you’re supposed to get behind us before anything.”
During LSU’s championship parade across campus Wednesday night, a smiling Reese continued waving her hand in front of her face, between waves to cheer the fans on, as she sat in the back of an orange Corvette convertible.
Reese’s expression on and off the court aroused increasing interest in her. According to Canada Sports Betting, Reese gained 500,000 followers on Instagram in the two days after LSU won the national title, pushing her total followers to over 1 million.
Information from the Associated Press is used in this report.
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