The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Opinion: Double Standards in Sports

Opinion%3A+Double+Standards+in+Sports

Media elites shut down Angel Reese, but build up Caitlin Clark

Zoe Sermons

Staff Writer

The annual “March Madness”  basketball tournament always creates a lot of buzz in the sports community. Typically, when the tournament is mentioned, people assume that they are talking about the men’s tournament. Recognizing and equally appreciating women’s sports has been an issue for a while now, but significant progress has been made. This year, the women’s tournament was much more entertaining than the men’s. The women’s tournament was competitive and intense while the men’s final four consisted of seemingly random teams. In the women’s championship game between The University of Iowa and Louisiana State University, there were 2 main players who stood out, Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark.

The championship game between LSU and Iowa accumulated 9.9 million viewers which is an all time high for any NCAA women’s basketball game. All of this attention has done great things for the progression of female sports, but also put a huge spotlight on certain players. Iowa’s Caitlin Clark had a beyond impressive performance the entire tournament, setting records and some may say, carrying her team to the championship. As a highly competitive, and passionate player, Clark would wave her hand over her face, cup her hand to her ear, and even wave off other players during these intense match ups. All of these gestures are frequently used by players of any sport when they get excited. Clark was praised and cheered on by the media for getting so into the game. Her opponent on the other hand, Angel Reese, received extreme backlash for making some of the exact same gestures during the championship game. There is one very important factor to note about all of this, Clark is white and Reese is black.

When the championship game was winding down, Reese waved her hand in front of her face and pointed to her ring finger in celebration because her team was seconds away from winning. As soon as the game was over, the media began relentlessly tearing Reese down for her actions. Very well known figures in the sports world were quick to jump down Reese’s throat and degrade her on their very public social media platforms. Sports commentator Keith Olbermann, tweeted “What a f—ing idiot” in response to a video of Reese celebrating and later called her “mindless” and “classless.” Adjectives like these were never used in regards to Clark when videos of her celebrating went viral. 

The double standard is blatantly clear when it comes to Clark and Reese. Historically, black women are labeled as aggressive, angry, ghetto, loud, dramatic etc. As a black woman in sports, Reese should be able to celebrate and soak up her championship moment exactly how her white counterparts would without receiving insane backlash. At the end of the day, Reese was competing in a high stakes competition that she was very passionate about, and she should be able to express herself accordingly. It is not unheard of for sports players to boast about their accomplishments and go back and forth with their opponents, so it is strange to me that the media felt the need to blow this situation out of proportion. Women in sports should be able to openly and proudly express their emotions and enjoy the competitive nature of sports, without it becoming a spectacle.

Reese has handled this unfortunate situation wonderfully and has set an amazing example for young, black, female athletes. In response to people’s comments about her, she said “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, so this was for the girls that look like me.” Reese did not have to stand up for herself alone. Popular sports commentator Stephen A. Smith jumped to Reese’s defense. Smith said, “We all know that there’s a white-black issue here because the fact of the matter is when Caitlin did it, people were celebrating it, and they were talking about nothing but her greatness. But then the second a sister steps up and threw it back in her face, now you got half the basketball world saying, ‘You know what? That’s not the classiest thing to do.”

I was disappointed to see such an amazing and inspirational athlete like Reese be treated with such disrespect during a time that was supposed to be full of joy for her. Although the circumstances were unfortunate, this entire situation has brought light to the double standards in sports, not only involving men and women, but also black and white athletes. Reese has been an amazing role model and I admire her bravery. 

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Opinion: Double Standards in Sports