The Controversy of Angel Reese


Eliza Martin '25, Writer

Recently, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding a gesture made by an athlete in the NCAA title game of March Madness. The athlete’s name is Angel Reese. Reese is a forward on the LSU Tigers basketball team, and she is ranked in 5th place overall in women’s basketball in the NCAA. Looking at this ranking, she is obviously a very talented athlete. Now, however, when you look up her name you do not find her stats right away. The first thing that pops up is not her height or the average amount of points she scores per game. When you look up Angel Reese right now, the first thing that comes up is thousands of articles about “controversy surrounding the gesture.” So what really went down, and why is it so controversial?

Towards the end of the title game, Angel Reese held up her hand in front of her face, directing it towards another athlete named Caitlin Clark, who is the most popular player right now in NCAA Women’s Basketball. The gesture became popular from WWE star John Cena, and it is supposed to mean “you can’t see me.” It is not an offensive motion, and it has been used as a casual way of “taunting” in sports for many years. However, for some reason, people seemed to be extremely offended when Angel Reese made the gesture. In fact, it wasn’t long before Reese was being bashed all over the media, with people calling her unsportsmanlike and classless. Danny Kannell, a former NFL quarterback, tweeted “What a classless move by Angel Reese. Doing WAY too much to taunt Clark.”

Perhaps the gesture wasn’t kind, but the backlash it received shone light on a huge double standard. The reason why: Caitlin Clark made the exact same gesture earlier in the tournament, and where Reese received backlash, Clark was met with praise. Even John Cena himself applauded Clark on Twitter, tweeting “Even if they could see you…they couldn’t guard you!”

This is where it gets controversial. The only difference between what Clark and Reese did is that Clark is white, and Reese is black. After Angel Reese started to receive criticism for the same gesture that Clark had performed earlier in the tournament, many people jumped to her defense. Meg Linehan, a senior writer for The Athletic, tweeted “If you celebrated Clark for doing this but not Angel Reese you gotta take a long, long look in the mirror.” 

Reese was completely unapologetic for the situation, maintaining the belief that she didn’t do anything wrong. She said “”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 anything. So this is for the girls that look like me.” 

 Society claims to treat everyone the same, but when looking at situations such as this one it is easy to see that there are still prejudices being placed against people every day. The sports industry, as well as the world as a whole, should take this situation as a sign that they need to change. Though this situation has gained a lot of attention, there are many like it that seem to be brushed under the rug. People are treated unfairly due to their race every day, and though we are making progress in society as a whole, this just goes to show that we can still do better. Hopefully, the publicity that this controversy has received will help to make people realize the double standards in the sports industry.