Controversial Basketball Star Rejects Jill Biden’s ‘Apology’ and Invitation

LSU basketball star Angel Reese continued to slam first lady Jill Biden on Tuesday for suggesting Iowa — the team the Tigers beat to win the national championship Sunday — should join LSU for the traditional champions’ visit to the White House.

And although no apology was issued, Reese rejected one anyway.

The sophomore forward was named the most outstanding player of the NCAA women’s tournament after she helped propel the Tigers to a 102-85 win over Iowa in the title game.

Reese also became the vortex of controversy when, in the final moments of that game, she taunted Hawkeyes star Caitlin Clark with pro wrestler John Cena’s “You can’t see me” hand motion and made a show of pointing to the ring finger on her right hand to indicate that she would be wearing a national championship ring.

Social media erupted over her actions, with many describing her as “classless” while others pointed out Clark had done the Cena gesture earlier in the tournament.

Jill Biden stepped into the discussion Monday, saying during an event in Denver, “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 I think Iowa should come too, because they played such a good game.”

After a fiercely negative reaction on social media — including a tweet from Reese calling the idea “A JOKE” — Biden press secretary Vanessa Valdivia said Tuesday the first lady’s remarks had been misunderstood.

“Her comments in Colorado were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes,” Valdivia said on Twitter. “She looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House.”

During a podcast appearance Tuesday, Reese elaborated on her disdain for Biden’s idea.

“If we were to lose, we would not be getting invited to the White House. And I remember she made a comment about both teams should be invited because … it was sportsmanship. And I’m like, ‘Are you saying that because of what I did?’” she said, putting her hand to her face in the repetition of one of the gestures that ignited the controversy.

“Stuff like that, it bothers me, because you are a woman,” Reese said. “At the end of the day, white, black, Mexican — it doesn’t matter. You’re a woman. You’re supposed to be standing behind us before anything. So it’s hard to see things like that and not to comment back on it.”

“Nobody’s giving her grace right now,” she said of Biden. “Trust me. Nobody’s giving her grace. And that’s why she’s trying to backtrack on what she said.”

The LSU star said she has better places to go than the Biden White House.

“I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t accept the apology,” she said, apparently taking Valdivia’s statement as an apology.

“I said what I said, and like, you can’t go back on certain things that you say. You felt like they should have came because of sportsmanship, right? They can have that spotlight. We’ll go to the Obamas, we’ll see Michelle, we’ll see Barack,” Reese said, referring to an idea suggested by teammate Alexis Morris.

She also said Jill Biden was due to visit both teams before Sunday’s game, but LSU rejected her.

“Apparently she was supposed to come to our locker room before the game, but we said no … we said no,” Reese said.

“She was supposed to come to our locker room and go to Iowa’s locker room. I don’t know if she talked to them. I don’t know if she did. But we said we didn’t want to — we didn’t want her to come to the locker room.”

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