Jill Biden's Basketball Idea Doesn't Land Well

LSU's Angel Reese calls suggestion to also invite runner-up Iowa to White House a 'joke'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2023 12:11 PM CDT
Jill Biden's Basketball Idea Doesn't Land Well
LSU's Angel Reese.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Jill Biden suggested that the winners and the losers of the women's college basketball championship be invited to the White House. The request is "A JOKE," tweeted Angel Reese, star of the winning LSU team. It seems that sentiment is on Reese's side here.

  • "I mean absolutely zero disrespect to the First Lady, but you are 1000% correct," ESPN's Stephen A. Smith wrote in reply to Reese. "Runner-ups don’t get invited to the White House. Why are we trying to change it now?"
  • At USA Today, Nancy Armour writes that she can't believe Jill Biden, or a close adviser, didn't realize the tone-deaf nature of her request. "LSU should not have to share its hard-earned spotlight because some people can’t wrap their heads around the fact women are not special snowflakes who can’t handle disappointment or adversity." Biden's request is not just an insult to LSU but patronizing to the losing Iowa team, she writes. "Trust me when I tell you that women don’t need your paternalism."

  • The 'narrative': A race factor is at play as well. As the Washington Post notes, Reese, who is Black, took all kinds of grief for taunting Iowa star Caitlin Clark, who is white, as the game was winding down. But Clark had similarly taunted opponents herself in previous games, largely without taking the same kind of criticism. As Reese put it after the game: "All year I was critiqued about who I was. I don't fit the narrative. I don't fit in the box that y'all want me to be in. I'm too hood. I'm too ghetto. Y'all told me that all year. But when other people do it, y'all don’t say nothing. So this is for the girls that look like me, that want to speak up for what they believe in. It’s unapologetically you. And that's what I did it for tonight. It was bigger than me tonight."
  • Walking it back: A spokesperson for Jill Biden attempted to clarify the request on Tuesday, per CNN. The first lady's "comments in Colorado were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes," said press chief Vanessa Valdivia. "She looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House."
  • An alternative? Reese wasn't the only LSU player upset at the suggestion. Teammate Alexis Morris wondered aloud if the team could instead visit a different first lady, Michelle Obama. "THAT'S THE TWEET," responded Reese.
(More women's college basketball stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.