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Jill Biden's proposed White House invite to losing Iowa team sparks race debate

Jill Biden's White House invite to losing team Iowa sparks race debate
Posted at 7:55 AM, Apr 04, 2023

First Lady Jill Biden wants the losing Iowa women’s basketball team to visit the White house, in addition to the national champions Louisiana State University. 

The first lady watched from the stands as LSU defeated Iowa in the NCAA women’s basketball championship 102-85 Sunday night.

While it is customary for winners to get a White House invitation, the same can’t be said for the losing team. Biden's invite has sparked controversy from both players and the public.

"I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House, we always do, so we’ll have LSU come, but you know what? I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come too, because they played such a good game," Biden said while speaking in Denver.

LSU star Angel Reese tweeted that Biden’s remarks were "A JOKE," alongside three laughing emojis.

This comes amid frustrations with comparisons between Reese’s predominantly Black team and Iowa’s mostly White team.

SEE MORE: LSU wins 1st NCAA title, Mulkey's 4th, beating Clark, Iowa

"All year I was critiqued about who I was," Reese said post-game. "I don’t fit the narrative, I don’t fit in 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, y’all don’t say nothing.”

Reese, who is Black, was alluding to the difference in reaction to her on-court gestures to players like Iowa star Caitlin Clark, who is White, who made the same gestures but didn't face as much backlash.

Reese said her win was for "the girls who look like me," and who are unapologetically themselves.

People chimed in on social media in support of Reese and to share their distaste for Biden’s potential Iowa invite.

"No Ma’am!" tweeted former White House aide Keith Boykin. "When Black women win a national championship, they should not be forced to share the stage with the losing team. Black women are the most loyal constituency of the Democratic Party. The White House needs to walk this back as soon as possible."

Popular sportscaster Stephen A. Smith shared similar sentiments.

"I mean absolutely zero disrespect to the First Lady, but you are 1000% correct," Smith tweeted at Reese. "That is a bad suggestion. Runner-ups don’t get invited to the White House. Why are we trying to change it now? I completely agree with you, Angel."

Reese’s LSU teammate Alexis Morris asked if the team can celebrate with Michelle Obama.

"Michelle OBAMA can we (LSU NATIONAL CHAMPS) come celebrate our win at your house," Morris tweeted.

While speaking in Denver, Biden congratulated both teams and also acknowledged how far women’s sports have come.