Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese Controversy: Who’s in the Wrong?


On Sunday, April, 2 LSU took down Iowa and star player Caitlin Clark, in a historic women’s basketball game, 102-85. Caitlin Clark put up 30 points and 8 assists, and star player for LSU Angel Reese had 15 points and 10 rebounds, leading them to a victory. With around 8 seconds left, with LSU preparing to celebrate their huge victory, Angel Reese followed Caitlin around mocking her famous celebration of “you can’t see me” and also pointed to her finger to rub in the fact that she was getting a ring.  

Unexpectedly, Angel Reese got immediate backlash for this. The internet showed so much anger towards Angel, but why? It is important to note that in men’s basketball people mock celebrations and show their happiness in ways that hurt the other team. It is merely a part of the game. For example, Dave Portnoy, a member of barstool sports called Angel Reese “a classless piece of sh*t”. The weird thing is that Caitlin did this gesture to opponents earlier in the tournament, but got no hate. I think this turned into a racial matter because Angel Reese is a black woman. When Angel does it it’s the end of the world, but when Caitlin does it she’s seen as the goat and “good for the sport”. Yet, it also feels like the media is trying to portray that women’s sports shouldn’t talk so much trash like men’s sports, like they are held to a higher standard. There is a false narrative on women’s sports, specifically women’s basketball in this case, and Angel changed this narrative by authentically being herself, without fear of hate. 

With all the backlash Angel faced, she came out with a statement saying “I want to take on that role of being the black woman that’s going to stand up for the girls that may not have a voice.”  continuing with “ I don’t care what anybody has to say about me. I love who I am… I’m authentically me.” Angel Reese is taking the controversy she’s facing very well and it shows that black women will get hated but her reaction to it is showing young black girls that being yourself can stop the haters. She shows young black girls that loving themselves and being themselves will get them to the places it got her. She won a national championship by being herself and a simple taunting action doesn’t shape who she is. Once again, it’s part of the game. 

Caitlin Clark spoke out about this topic because she kept seeing Angel continuously get hate for no reason. Caitlin proudly stated “She should never be criticized for what she did. I’m just one that competes and she competed… I’m a big fan of hers.” There is truly no beef between the two players. The die-hard Caitlin fans’ perspective can be changed because Caitlin has such a big influence on her fan base. Caitlin also said “Men have always had trash talk… you should be able to play with that emotion… That’s how every girl should continue to play.” Both Angel and Caitlin want actually to see this continue to happen; they see trash talk as women’s basketball evolving. It is necessary, and this shows the game is becoming serious. With men never getting backlash on the taunting celebrations and women immediately causing an uproar displays a change of narrative that needs to occur. Angel and Caitlin’s influence on young girls and young kids is just the start of a new generation and evolution of women’s sports.