First lady Jill Biden landed in hot water, after suggesting that University of Iowa women’s basketball team join national champions, Louisiana State University, for their celebratory White House visit.
“I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House, we always do. So, we hope LSU will come,” Biden remarked on Monday.
“But, you know, I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game.”
NFL Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe had a sharp rebuke for the first lady on FS1’s “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” during their Tuesday morning show.
“Now because the young ladies that won look like me, and the people that lost look like her, now we gonna invite the runner-up,” he told co-host Skip Bayless.
“That’s the part of winning a national championship,” he heatedly continued. “We get invited to the White House, the losers don’t get anything, this is not a participation award.”
The vast majority of Twitter users were equally incensed. “Jill Biden is a white woman,” wrote Bishop Talbert Swan.
“Of course she wants the president to invite the team of predominantly white women that lost when the winning team of Black woman come to the White House.”
“She wants to give white women the same privilege that Black women earned,” he concluded. “This is America.”
“LSU SHOULD NOT have to share the stage with Iowa at the White House. Period,” added former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III.
LSU star Angel Reese, who has been the subject of intense scrutiny over taunting gestures during the her teams 102-85 win over Iowa, said that Biden’s suggestion was “a joke,” and posted several laughing emojis.
“If we lost would we be invited? That’s all I’m asking…” Questioned teammate Flau’jae Johnson.
“Michelle OBAMA can we (LSU NATIONAL CHAMPS) come celebrate our win at your house?” added LSU’s Alexis Morris.
The first lady’s press secretary, Vanessa Valdivia, attempted to walk back the comments early Tuesday morning.
“The First Lady loved watching the NCAA women’s basketball championship game alongside young student athletes and admires how far women have advanced in sports since the passing of Title IX,” she tweeted.
“Her comments in Colorado 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,” Valdivia posted in a follow-up.
Reese was not moved by the statement, and does not accept the first lady’s apology.
“We made a lot of phone calls,” Reese detailed. “And that’s why she wants to come out and apologize.”
“But, at the same time, I don’t accept it. I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t accept the apology, because you said what you said. And I said what I said. You can’t go back on certain things that you say.”
“You felt like they should’ve came because of the sportsmanship, right? They can have that spotlight,” she told I Am Athlete’s “Paper Route. “We’ll go to The Obamas. We’ll see Michelle. We’ll see Barack.”
When former NFL receiver Brandon Marshall asked if she would go to the White House, the NCAA champ was non-committal about attending.
“We’re gonna see,” Reese answered. “I don’t know.”
“If we were to lose, we would not be getting invited to the White House,” she pointed out.
“I remember [Biden] made a comment about how both teams should be invited because of sportsmanship. I’m like, ‘Are you saying that because of what I did?’” She wondered about the taunting hand gesture she made at Iowa competitor Caitlin Clark.
“Stuff like that bothers me because you are a woman at the end of the day, white, black, Mexican, it doesn’t matter. You’re supposed to be standing behind us before anything.”
Reese was criticized for “unsportsmanlike” behavior for making the “you cant see me” gesture at Clark during the final, even though the Iowa player made the exact same hand motion during the team’s win over Louisville during the Elite Eight without causing a stir.
“All year, I was critiqued for who I was,” Reese told reporters. “I don’t fit the narrative, 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, and y’all don’t say nothing.”
Clark defended Reese during a post-season interview on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Tuesday.
“I don’t think Angel should be criticized at all,” she commented. “I’m just one that competes, and she competed. I think everybody knew there was gonna be a little trash talk in the entire tournament. It’s not just me and Angel.”
Clark was also adamant that the Hawkeyes wouldn’t be accepting the first lady’s invitation.
“I don’t think runner-ups usually go to the White House,” she insisted. “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,” Clark continued. “That’s for LSU. they should enjoy every single second of being the champion. I think that’s theirs to do.”