The LSU women’s basketball team won their first-ever NCAA championship victory on Sunday (April 2) after beating out the Iowa Hawkeyes to secure the title. Following their win, First Lady Jill Biden invited the Tigers to the White House to celebrate their triumph, but it came with a catch. She also wanted to invite the losing team. LSU star Angel Reese, for her part, would rather party with the Obamas.
Reese spoke about her experience over the past week in an appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast Tuesday (April 4). She noted that Dr. Biden alluded to sportsmanship when extending the invite to Iowa. “I just know if the roles were reversed, it wouldn’t be the same,” she said, as seen in the clip below. “If we were to lose, we would not be getting invited to the White House. I remember she made a comment that both teams should be invited because it was about sportsmanship. And I’m like, are you saying that because of what I did?”
Reese came under fire for doing a taunting gesture during the game first popularized by John Cena in the WWE. Iowa player Caitlin Clark did the same gesture in another game just a few days earlier but didn’t face any backlash. The team ultimately decided to turn down Biden’s invitation even after the First Lady’s press secretary attempted to clarify and only invite LSU. See the walk-back below.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t accept that apology because she said what she said,” Reese stated honestly. “You can’t go back on certain things that you say. You felt that they should have came because of ‘sportsmanship,’ right? [Iowa] can have that spotlight. We’ll go to the Obamas. We’ll see Michelle. We’ll see Barack.”
She went on to address the optics of Biden’s unprecedented invitation to the runners-up. “Stuff like that, it bothers me. Because you are a woman at the end of the day. White, Black, it doesn’t matter, you’re supposed to be standing behind us before anything, so it’s hard to see things like that and not to comment back on it. But at the same time, I have the platform right now where I can speak out and a lot of people have had my back through it,” she said.
“I’m proud to be in a situation like this,” she declared. “Nobody is giving her grace right now. Trust me, nobody is giving her grace and that’s why she’s trying to backtrack on what she said.”
Former President Obama, meanwhile, was thrilled at the Tigers’ victory. “Congrats to the new champs, LSU women’s basketball! They earned it, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more from them in the years ahead,” he wrote in a tweet seen below. Reese’s response? “I LOVE MY PRESIDENT!”