LSU star Angel Reese said her team will not be visiting the White House after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 102-85 for the university's first NCAA basketball title.
In the wake of criticism for her late-game replication of Iowa guard Caitlin Clark's "you can't see me" taunt, along with her ring gestures, the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player is calling attention to the double standard she continues to face.
"If we were to lose, we would not be getting invited to the White House," she told “I AM ATHLETE” podcast hosts Brandon Marshall and Ashley Nicole Moss.
The comments come after first lady Jill Biden said Iowa should be invited to the White House as well, instead of keeping the tradition of inviting just the national champions.
"I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House, we always do. So, we hope LSU will come but, you know, I’m going to tell Joe [Biden] I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game," she said at an event at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.
Biden appeared to walk back her comments after a wave of criticism. Biden's press secretary, Vanessa Valdivia, said in a tweet, Biden's comments “were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes. She looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House.”
Still, Reese is not interested in celebrating in the nation's capital.
“I don’t accept the apology because you said what you said … You can’t go back on certain things that you say. You felt like they should have come because of sportsmanship right? They can have that spotlight. We’ll go to the Obamas' [house]. We’ll go see Michelle. We’ll see Barack," Reese said.
The Obamas have not spoken publicly about a potential visit.
Reese implied that Biden extended an invitation to Iowa because of disapproval over her taunting.
"It bothers me," Reese said of Biden's comments. "You're a woman, you're supposed to be standing behind us."
The LSU sophomore has been vocal about her desire to normalize passion in the women's game.
"We worked just as hard as Iowa did," she said. "What even went through your mind to think about inviting them."
Beyond the first lady's comments, Reese added her teammates weren't interested in the White House visit or a pregame locker room visit from the first lady before the title game.
"Joe Biden didn't even put us in his bracket to get out of Baton Rouge," she said.
He had them losing to Michigan in the second game of the tournament.
It was on par for an LSU team that deemed itself an underdog with "nothing to lose." Reese noted that race and gender have played a role in the team's reception throughout the season and as national champions. "We're the most hated," she said.
The Tigers are led by head coach Kim Mulkey. Reese said that it was Mulkey's influence that led Biden to change her tune.
"We made a lot of phone calls, that's why she wants to come out and apologize," she said.
Reese emphasized that Mulkey's race doesn't impact how she deals with the team.
“Our team is predominately Black," she said. “[Mulkey] loves us for who we are.”
Clark also doesn't feel Iowa should have been invited to the White House.
“I don’t think runner-ups usually go to the White House. I think LSU should enjoy that moment for them and congratulations, obviously, they deserve to go there. Maybe I could go to the White House on different terms though,” she said, per CNN. “That’s for LSU. That’s a pretty cool moment and they should enjoy every single second of being a champion.”
In the interview, Reese emphasized she and Clark don't have any issues, they're just competitors. Clark has expressed the same sentiments.