What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

Photos from CNN Sports, all rights reserved

What’s good for the goose  is good for the gander
April 20
19:35 2023

The LSU women’s basketball team defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes in the national championship game 102-85 to capture their first national title in school history. Funny enough, the Lady Tigers’ victory was not the topic of conversation following the win, but instead it was the sportsmanship of Final Four Most Outstanding Player Angel Reese.

Toward the end of the game, Reese performed the “you can’t see me” gesture toward Iowa guard and national Player of the Year Caitlin Clark. The “you can’t see me” gesture was popularized by G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo and not John Cena, as many people assume. 

Reese also performed the gesture as time was running out in the game and followed it up with a “ring me” gesture toward Clark. Both of those actions received millions of comments and posts stating how unsportsmanlike they felt her actions were.

Pardon me while I laugh, hysterically. There were so many negative comments targeting Reese for her gestures, it quite honestly amazed me. For one, Clark did the exact same gesture the week prior in their regional final game and actually received praise for her actions, yet Reese was the only one that received any sort of negative comments and I think we all know why. “Disgusting” and “classless” were just a couple of the words that were thrown around on social media about Reese.

The most confusing part about the entire saga was that the social media pundits were totally in an uproar while Clark was seemingly unphased about the entire scenario.

“I don’t think Angel should be criticized,” said Clark in an interview. “I’m just one that competes, and she competed. I think everybody knew there was going to be a little trash talk in the entire tournament. It’s not just me and Angel.

“We’re all competitive. We all show our emotions in a different way. You know, Angel is a tremendous, tremendous player. I have nothing but respect for her. I love her game – the way she rebounds the ball, scores the ball, is absolutely incredible. I’m a big fan of her and even the entire LSU team. They played an amazing game.”

I commend Clark for her stance on the entire Reese situation. Throughout the entire news cycle, she continued to take the high road and not try to condemn or blame Reese for anything. That was not what I expected from her initially, but after watching several interviews, I realized that she is a serious competitor and Reese’s actions probably did not phase her, but instead probably inspired her to come back next year even better, and that’s something I can appreciate as a competitor.

When it comes to Reese, I liked her play all season long. She was collecting double doubles all year long and was one of the most dominant players in the sport this season. She was not celebrated all season like Clark was, but even in the face of tremendous scrutiny, she continued to hold her stance about her actions during the national championship game.

“All year I was critiqued about who I was.  … I don’t fit the narrative. I don’t fit in a 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 say nothing,” Reese said in a press conference following the national championship game.  

“So this was for the girls that look like me, that’s going to speak up on what they believe in. It’s unapologetically you. That’s what I did it for tonight. It was bigger than me tonight. It was bigger than me. Twitter is going to go on a rage every time, and I’m happy. I feel like I’ve helped grow women’s basketball this year. I’m super happy and excited. So I’m looking forward to celebrating in the next season.”

I couldn’t be prouder of any young woman than I was of Reese in that moment. She not only took all of the criticism and channeled it into a national championship, she doubled down on her actions and did not back down when it was obvious that people did not like it. I am glad she went ahead and addressed the obvious double standard that was being presented by the media and those idiots on social media.

People attempted to rationalize their outrage by saying what Reese did was different from what Clark did. They stated that Clark’s gesture was short and not directed toward anyone, while Reese made sure Clark saw her perform the gesture. I don’t care how long or who the gesture was directed toward, it is still the same thing and for people to try and differentiate between the two seems rather racist to me.

Everyone that has played competitive sports on a high level knows exactly what that situation between Reese and Clark feels like from both sides. We have all won and lost and trash talk is a big part of sports. Some people use it to motivate themselves, while others use it to attempt to psych out their opponents.  

I frequently tell stories about how I used trash talk to try and intimidate my competitors. As a track and field athlete, before the race I would walk up and down the track and ask my opponents who they thought was coming in second because I already had first place wrapped up. You could tell who was intimidated by their lack of eye contact or obvious nerves. It was also a means to hype myself up because I had talked all that trash, I had to back it up on the track by performing well.

Reese stated that she did that gesture to Clark because of how Clark was showboating toward previous opponents that were her SEC mates. People remember when Clark did the “you can’t see me” gesture, but she also famously waved off an opponent during Iowa’s game against South Carolina. She left the South Carolina guard unguarded at the three-point line. She could have simply left the player unguarded instead of insulting her by waving her hand at her. Once again, Clark was not attacked for her behavior like Reese was.

There were also several other moments caught on camera during the tournament involving Clark being a hothead toward the referees and even her teammates during timeouts. She also received a technical foul for throwing the ball away after a foul. None of these incidents were deemed “classless” or “unsportsmanlike.” It kills me how blatant this double standard was when people were describing both players.

I am not chastising Clark or her behavior during the tournament, I just want both players and their behavior to be treated fairly and equally, instead of one being looked at as heroic and competitive and the other looked at as dirty and classless.  

I think it’s about time we start to treat men’s and women’s sports the same way. We never talk about how guys trash talk one another but as soon as it’s done in women’s sports, it becomes national news. I guarantee if this would have transpired during the men’s championship game, it would not have been a topic the next day. 

Women’s sports have continued to evolve over the last 20 years and it’s time we give them the same respect we give the men’s game.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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