Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images (left); Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images (right)
© 2023 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Louisiana State University women's basketball star Angel Reese stated that she doesn't accept first lady Jill Biden's "apology" for wanting to invite both LSU and the University of Iowa teams to the White House even though LSU beat Iowa for the national championship over the weekend.
What's more, Reese suggested that LSU would visit former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama at their home instead of the White House.
What's the background?
Reese on Monday skewered Biden for wanting LSU and Iowa to come to the White House, calling such an idea "a joke":
\u201c\ud83e\udd23\ud83e\udd23\ud83e\udd23A JOKE. https://t.co/9SiOKQNqbj\u201d— Angel Reese (@Angel Reese) 1680562634
Traditionally a White House invitation is solely reserved for the last team standing in a championship run, which was LSU. Nevertheless, ESPN reported that the first lady — who was in attendance Sunday when LSU beat Iowa 102-85 in the final — praised Iowa's sportsmanship and congratulated both teams Monday.
"I know we'll have the champions come to the White House; we always do. So we hope LSU will come," Biden said, according to ESPN. "But, you know, I'm going to tell [President] Joe [Biden] I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game."
Early Tuesday morning Jill Biden's press secretary appeared to walk back the first lady's comments, saying they "were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes. She looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House."
President Biden on Tuesday morning also tweeted a series of congratulatory messages to LSU and to the NCAA men's basketball champion, the University of Connecticut, adding that "I look forward to welcoming them at each of their White House visits." He didn't mention Iowa.
But the damage already may have been done.
'You can’t go back on certain things that you say'
Reese appeared on "The Paper Route Podcast" after Jill Biden appeared to walk back her comments and said she doesn't accept the first lady's "apology."
"I don’t accept the apology because you said what you said. … You can’t go back on certain things that you say," Reese told podcast hosts Brandon Marshall and Ashley Nicole Moss. "You felt like [Iowa] should have came because of sportsmanship, right? They can have that spotlight."
With that, Reese suggested that LSU would pay a visit to the Obamas instead of the White House: "We’ll go to the Obamas' [home]. We’ll see Michelle. We’ll see Barack."
Angel Reese Exclusive First Sit Down Post Championshipyoutu.be
In addition, Reese’s teammate Alex Morris asked Michelle Obama on Twitter if LSU could "come celebrate our win at your house" after Barack Obama tweeted his congratulations to the team, CNN reported, adding that a spokesperson for the Obamas declined to comment.
At present, it seems unclear whether LSU will go to the White House or not.
Reese commented “WE NOT COMING. period” on an Instagram post from “The Shade Room" in regard to a possible White House visit, CNN noted. But when asked during "The Paper Route" podcast if LSU would go to the White House, Reese replied, "We're gonna see; I don't know."
CNN added that LSU's athletics department said the team would “certainly accept an invitation.” LSU's coach Kim Mulkey said she would go to the White House if invited, ESPN reported.
Reese also said during the podcast that LSU wasn't interested in a locker room visit from the first lady before Sunday's title game, apparently because Joe Biden didn't predict that LSU would advance very far in the NCAA tournament.
The deepening controversy — which kicked off with strong reactions to Reese returning a taunt to Iowa star Caitlin Clark — has evolved into a debate about race.
Reese implied as much during "The Paper Route" podcast: "I just know if the roles were reversed it wouldn't be the same. If we were to lose, we would not be getting invited to the White House." The women's basketball team at LSU is predominantly black, while Iowa's squad is predominantly white.
NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe ripped the first lady for the dual invites on Tuesday's episode of "The Undisputed," saying she "needs to sit down." Sharpe, who is black, added that "the people that won ... look like me, and the people that lost look like [Biden], now we're gonna invite the runner-up!"
He added that Biden is "a doctor," implying she should have known the competitive and racial dynamics between Iowa and LSU: "If she didn't know, she should have known before she opened her mouth and blurted this dumb scenario out!"
"Does Dr. Jill Biden understand how this looks? ... The losing side is white America, and she's like, 'You know what ...'" Sharpe figuratively asked the first lady, before adding, "Did you forget who put your husband in the White House?" and predicting that Joe Biden would suffer ratings losses if Iowa gets an invite.
Isn't it ironic?
Ironically Reese and Clark — the two women who began at the center of this cultural controversy — have no problems with each other.
Reese said during the podcast that she has no animosity toward Clark and has praised her playing ability, and Clark stated the same about Reese, telling ESPN that "Angel is a tremendous, tremendous player. I have nothing but respect for her. I love her game — the way she rebounds the ball, scores the ball, is absolutely incredible. I'm a big fan of her and even the entire LSU team. ... They played an amazing game."
Clark also said only LSU should go to the White House.
Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!
Want to leave a tip?
We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Sr. Editor, News
Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.