Don’t listen to the noise. Angel Reese and Caitlin Clarke’s beef is good for women’s basketball

We need to talk about whether you all have the balls to enjoy women’s basketball together. Instead of enjoying a great moment for sports and women’s basketball, we end up talking about race and bad perceptions of Kaitlyn Clarke and Angel Reese.

Unless you were one of the ten million people who watched LSU beat Iowa for the 2023 Women’s National Championship, or one of the 20 million people who have hot feelings for Angel Reese taunting Caitlin Clarke late in the game moments, here is the background.

LSU and their controversial and wild-dressing coach, Kim Mulkey, overcame a weak non-conference schedule and an early exit from the SEC Tournament through the power NCAA Tournament as a 3-seed en route to the championship game.

On the other hand, you have one of the best young female shooters of all time in Kaitlyn Clark, who led Iowa to a No. 2 and stunning upset of South Carolina in the Final Four.

Caitlin Clarke is as good a trash talker as she is a gamer. He praised South Carolina’s Raven Johnson, who was wide open at the three-point line, in Iowa’s Final Four win. And cameras caught him telling Kobe Bryant protégé and Louisville star Haley Van Leete to “shut up” during Iowa State’s Elite 8 win. Plus, there’s John Cena’s “You Can’t See Me” celebration that he does to show off his opponents.

That brings us to LSU sophomore forward Angel Reese, who repeatedly did Clark’s autograph at the end of the national championship game, as well as giving him the thumbs up.

People were mad as hell.

But about what? These are elite level players and trash talking is part of the game like it or not.

How did we get to the point where people who used to call anyone who extolled the entertainment value of women’s basketball a “kitchen” decided they not only loved women’s basketball, but also had to adopt the game’s best long-range killer? as their personal damsel in distress.

Kaitlyn Clarke addressed the situation on Outside The Lines and said she respects Angel Reese and doesn’t think she should be criticized at all. So if he’s not upset, why should you be?

How should black people feel about the disproportionate response to Angel Reese’s behavior? Or how should anyone in their right mind approach that question?

It’s eerily similar to the reactions to calling Tom Brady a fiery competitor when he breaks a tablet or curses at a teammate, but Odell Beckham Jr. hits a net and he’s cancer.

Angel Reese’s actions are no different than Baker Mayfield planting the Oklahoma flag, Dikembe Mutumbo waving his finger after a block, or Reggie Miller choking the symbol against the Knicks. Are they the most subtle and “sportsmanlike” moments in the world? No. But sports involve emotions and trash talk. When you talk trash, you can’t decide how it comes back.

This tournament made so much noise that there are no losers. Well, except for people like Dave Portnoy, who decided to defend the failure of his great white hope by calling Angel Reese a piece of shit, and took on basketball ignoramus Keith Olbermann, who called Reese an idiot. It’s fair to call them losers.

These women don’t need you or anyone else to protect them. They need you to remember how much fun this tournament was and they need to schedule a non-conference tournament with Louisville, LSU, Iowa, Miami and South Carolina.

I’m in awe right now thinking about how crazy Caitlin Clark is going to be all offseason. I can’t wait to see what Angel Reese does with all the attention she’s getting. And you know Don Staley and South Carolina are sitting at home thinking bad thoughts about what they’re going to do next year because their perfect record and chance to repeat is ruined.

Women’s basketball is experiencing a moment. And maybe part of that moment is that sports are subject to the same rampant stupidity that surrounds America’s other favorite pastimes, but it would be great if we didn’t ruin a good thing before it has a chance to become great.

Let that sink in.

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