NCAA Women’s Basketball Player Angel Reese Stands Up for Herself Following Social Media Backlash

The LSU star was criticized for taunting Iowa guard Caitlin Clark during the national championship.
Angel Reese.

Angel Reese.

Angel Reese is facing backlash for her behavior during the NCAA women’s basketball championship game on Sunday. The LSU player, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, was seen taunting fellow Iowa star athlete Caitlin Clark with John Cena’s “you can’t see me” gesture and pointing at her ring finger.

During a press conference after LSU’s win, Reese was informed by a reporter that Twitter was in a rage. The term “classless” was trending, along with “Reese” and “Clark.” The 20-year-old was unbothered and unapologetic about her actions, while several people stood up for her on social media.

Angel Reese during the championship game of the 2023 NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

“All year, I was critiqued about who I was. I don’t fit the narrative,” she responded. “I don’t fit 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. This was bigger than me tonight. Twitter is gonna go on a rage every time. I’m happy.”

Former NFL star Shannon Sharpe shared his thoughts on the matter on Skip and Shannon: Undisputed. He started by clarifying that his remarks were not personal and not pointed at Clark, who he said is a phenomenal player. She, like many male and female athletes, has also done the John Cena move in the heat of the moment during a basketball game. Unlike Reese, however, she hasn’t faced an unfair amount of backlash for it.

“This is about the portrayal of how we see it two different ways: 48 hours ago when Caitlin Clark did the John Cena, it was considered swag. When Angel Reese does exact same gesture, it’s ‘classless,’” the former Denver Broncos tight end explained

“It’s funny how America [and] society sees Black and white. One of the greatest taunters in NBA history was Larry Bird. He was never criticized. Phil Rivers, he was never criticized,” Sharpe continued. “Angel Reese talked about this all year and everything came to fruition. The moment she did the gesture, the moment she pointed at her ring [finger], Twitter started trending. Angel Reese is what we call unapologetically Black.”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.