Dear America, your racism is showing. The Women’s College Basketball National Championship game between LSU and Iowa produced record numbers, but that isn’t the headline. No matter what kind of numbers either team put up, the defining moment of the game occurred when LSU’s Angel Reese used John Cena’s “you can’t see me” taunt against Iowa’s Caitlin Clark. Now, it’s worth mentioning that Clark is no stranger to taunting opponents, having used Cena’s move in the same game prior to Reese doing it. Apparently, the media forgot about that last part, considering how Reese was attacked on social media both during and after the game. The problem wasn’t the move. The problem wasn’t the “lack of sportsmanship.” The problem was that one player was black and the other was white.
When Clark trash talks or taunts opponents, she is called “swaggy,” but when Reese does it, she is “unsportsmanlike”... among other words that were used to describe her. So now, instead of being able to discuss how amazing this matchup was for women’s sports, we are having yet another discussion about race. In a recent interview, Clark stated that Reese should not be getting attacked for what she did and that it’s okay for players to taunt each other, and that is where the discussion should end.
As the most viewed college event ever on ESPN Plus, the game peaked at 12.6 million viewers. Not only is this an amazing statistic for women’s college basketball, but it’s an amazing statistic for the NCAA as a whole. That should be the big story here, but it isn’t.
The cultures of these two teams could not be any more different, and that’s a given. The double standards in this matchup could not be more obvious. When LSU became National Champions, it gave way to a media race war that a lot of us saw coming.
In their Final Four matchup versus South Carolina, Iowa players were said to be disrespecting the Gamecocks, who, like LSU, are composed of mostly African American players. It’s almost as if LSU noted that disrespect and carried it with them in the national championship game. This win was for the culture.
Over the past couple days, there have been so many instances where the disrespect for LSU was very loud. Among those is a CNN article citing that although LSU won the game, Caitlin Clark stole the show throughout the tournament. While Clark does deserve her flowers, so do the ladies of LSU women’s basketball.
In another instance, Dr. Jill Biden invited both LSU and Iowa to visit the White House. Normally, only the National Champions receive an invite. This was something that both Reese and Clark addressed and they had the same sentiment: only LSU should have been invited. Now, let’s all ask ourselves one simple question: if Iowa had won, would LSU still be invited?
A great matchup being overshadowed by refs and underlying racial issues of media members is the real story here, which is sad. Women’s college basketball is all anyone can talk about right now, but it’s mostly for the wrong reasons.