Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark And The Racial Divide Between Trash Talking And Taunting

In the waning moments of the NCAA Women’s Championship game, LSU star Angel Reese made a gesture where she put her hand over her face while looking at Iowa’s star Caitlin Clark. Known as the “You Can’t See Me” gesture, it was popularized by WWE wrestler Jon Cena who copied it years ago from G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo.

The person who is uses the gesture is basically telling an opponent that their skills are so superior that they are invisible. 

Days before Reese would make the “You Can’t See Me” gesture, Clark would do the same while looking at Louisville’s star player Hailey Van Lith. Clark and Lith were trash talking each other the entire game and Clark even told Lith, “You’re down 15 points. Shut up.” 

The media picked up on Clark’s gesture and some outlets began to highlight Clark’s trash talking. ESPN produced a segment called “Caitlin Cark: Queen of Clap Backs.” In the segment, her teammates provided insight on some of Clark’s best moments of trash talking opponents. Most of her teammates were excited about her making the
“You Can’t See Me” gesture. 

However, when Reese returned the favor to Clark as LSU captured the championship, she was immediately met with vitriol and hate. 

Long-time sports personality Keith Oberman lashed out by tweeting at Reese, “What a f—g idiot.” He continued, “Doesn’t matter the gender, the sport, the background – you’re seconds away from a championship and you do something like this and overshadow all the good. Mindless, classless, and what kind of coach does this team have?”

Reese would catch more backlash on social media in commentary that appeared to be divided along racial lines. 

Sports commentator Danny Kannell said, “What a classless move by Angel Reese. Doing way too much to taunt Clark.” 

Emmanuel Acho of Fox Sports responded to Kannell by tweeting, “If it wasn’t ‘classless’ when Caitlin Clark did it, don’t call it classless when Angel Reese does it. Let the women compete, it’s sports!”

The backlash that Reese received served as a reminder of an ongoing issue in sports. Black athletes are vilified when doing similar things that white athletes often are praised for.  

The thin line between good-natured trash talking and taunting became more evident with the reactions given to Reese and Clark. Unfortunately, two players who were both showing their competitive nature were put in the center of revealing an ugly truth about race and sports. 


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