LSU’s national champion women’s basketball team will accept an invitation from President Joe Biden to visit the White House.
University spokesman Michael Bonnette confirmed LSU’s intentions on the matter Thursday, a day after Tigers star forward Angel Reese. suggested during a podcast interview that his team should celebrate their title with Barack and Michelle Obama instead of Joe and Jill Biden.
Reese made the suggestion after saying she was unwilling to accept an apology from Jill Biden. for suggesting that both LSU and runner-up Iowa be invited to the White House. President Biden did not follow through on that idea, inviting only LSU and the men’s national champion from Connecticut.
Vanessa Valdivia, a spokeswoman for Jill Biden, said the first lady meant no disrespect to LSU and that her comments were intended to applaud the historic game and all the female athletes. With their 102-85 win over the Hawkeyes, LSU’s point total was the most ever scored in a championship game by a single team. The combined total of 187 also broke the previous mark. The game also drew a television audience of 9.9 million, a record for an NCAA women’s title game.
There is currently no set date for a visit to the White House, Bonnette said. He could not confirm if all the players and coaches would be able to attend.
In an appearance in Denver on Monday, jill biden he had praised Iowa’s sportsmanship and congratulated both teams. He also said that, as part of the long tradition of champions visiting the White House, Iowa should also come “because they played so well.”
Reese on Monday called Jill Biden’s suggestion “a joke.”
Some social media commenters noted the racial dynamics involved, saying that only the winners should be rewarded with a visit to the White House and that hosting both teams would detract from the achievement of LSU’s team, which is predominantly black. . The Iowa team is majority white. Others pointed to the important role of black women in Democratic Party politics.
President Biden was Obama’s running mate and vice president for eight years. Meanwhile, Obama actively campaigned for Biden in the 2020 election.
Following LSU’s win, coach Kim Mulkey said she would go to the White House if invited. Reese said Wednesday that she wasn’t sure if she would go.
reese faced reviews on social media for mockingly waving his hand in front of his face while looking at Iowa star Caitlin Clark near the end of the game. Clark, the Associated Press Player of the Year, made a similar gesture during Iowa’s victory over Louisville in the Elite Eight.
Reese said she didn’t think LSU, had it lost to Iowa, would have received the same praise from Jill Biden as the Hawkeyes.
“If we lost, they wouldn’t invite us to the White House,” he added. “I remember him making a comment that both teams should be invited for sportsmanship. And I’m like, ‘Are you saying that because of what I did?’ Things like that, they bother me because you’re a woman at the end of the day. White, Black, it doesn’t matter, you’re a woman, you’re supposed to be behind us before anything else.”
During LSU’s championship parade through campus Wednesday night, a smiling Reese continued to wave her hand in front of her face, between waves to cheering fans, as she sat in the back of an orange Corvette convertible.
Reese’s expressiveness on and off the court has sparked growing interest in her. Reese reportedly gained 500,000 followers on Instagram in the two days after LSU’s national title win, bringing her follower total to over 1 million.
Reese has also been endorsed by high-profile athletes with a following around the world. Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton posted a photo of Reese on his Instagram page. And when the Memphis Grizzlies visited New Orleans this week, star guard Ja Morant made the short trip to LSU’s Baton Rouge campus for a meeting with Reese that was posted on social media.