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LSU’s Angel Reese doesn’t apologize to Caitlin Clark, and she doesn’t have to

Aside from the media’s penchant for portraying black women athletes as aggressive, masculine and unable to control their emotions, there are also people within the sport who contribute to the narrative. Earlier in the week, Iowa’s coach Lisa Bolder equated the rebound of her March 31 opponent, the mostly black South Carolina Gamecocks, with “a bar fight,” citing her preference for tongue-in-cheek innuendos. Nonetheless, it is these very comments that are a mainstay in perpetuating misogyny and tropes that hurt black women on and off the court.

Jasmine Carson, #2, and Angel Reese celebrate during the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament National Championship

C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images

After South Carolina’s loss to Iowa after an unbeaten season, coach Dawn Staley took the time for her post-game interview defends her team and their style of play. “We’re not barfighters. We are not thugs. We are not monkeys. We’re not street fighters,” the longtime coach said in response to media portrayal of the Gamecocks. “That just confirms what we already know so be careful what you say when you’re in public and talking about my team in particular because it’s false.” Staley urged the media not to classify their team based on skin color judge and get to know it in the same way that it is important to them to get to know other players of other races.

Despite a social media storm of racism and double standards, Angel Reese and the rest of the LSU women’s basketball team are “happy.” They are rightly celebrating their monumental victory, regardless of outside opinions on their propriety. Blocking out the noise from abusive onlookers encouraging her to appear as someone other than herself, Reese tweeted out two messages shortly after the league game, complete with a kissing emoji and a haloed smiley face: “I LOVE BEING A BLACK QUEEN”, “And no, I don’t think it’s cute.” And she shouldn’t. Reese should not be expected to respond with “grace” and “class” to derogatory comments about her character, background, looks, or talent. She should be able to walk with her head held high, her lashes done to perfection, a crown on her 30 inch curly hair, with a new ring on her French tipped finger to replace the marker manifestation she has and her team have achieved – and if she has her way, she will do it.