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Louisiana State University star forward Angel Reese opened up about the online abuse and attacks she has faced during a press conference after the LSU Tigers lost to Iowa’s Hawkeyes in the Elite Eight level of the NCAA tournament. Reese tearfully discussed her experiences, including death threats, sexualization, and being threatened. Despite the negativity, she remains strong and focused on supporting her teammates. Her teammates Flau’jae Johnson and Hailey Van Lith also praised her leadership and strength amid the criticism.

Reese, who was named most outstanding player in last year’s championship game, was criticized for her trash-talking behavior during a game against Iowa. Some viewed her gestures towards Iowa’s star player Caitlin Clark as “classless.” The backlash Reese faced was seen by many as rooted in racism and sexism, as male players and white female players are typically treated differently for similar conduct. Clark, who did similar gestures without facing the same criticism, even defended Reese, saying she shouldn’t have been criticized for her actions.

The criticism towards Reese was highlighted by Los Angeles Times columnist Ben Bolch, who referred to the LSU Tigers as “dirty debutantes” and “villains.” Bolch later apologized for his comments after backlash from the public and LSU coach Kim Mulkey. Hailey Van Lith, who is white, also spoke out against the column, pointing out the double standard in how different players are treated for trash-talking. Reese has faced a barrage of negative comments and attacks since winning a national championship, but she remains unapologetically herself and continues to stand strong.

Reese’s teammates praised her resilience and leadership despite the challenges she faces off the court. Flau’jae Johnson and Hailey Van Lith both spoke out in support of Reese, calling out the media for vilifying her and speaking hate into her life. Johnson emphasized that people don’t truly know Angel Reese and the challenges she has overcome to reach her current position. Despite the online attacks and criticism, Reese remains focused on supporting her teammates and standing strong in the face of adversity.

The online abuse and attacks directed at Angel Reese highlight deeper issues of misogyny, racism, and negativity within society. The unfair treatment of Reese compared to other players, especially based on her race and gender, has sparked conversations about equality and how female athletes are perceived and treated in the media. Reese’s experience serves as a reminder of the challenges that women, particularly women of color, face in the world of sports, and the importance of supporting and uplifting each other in the face of adversity. Through her strength and resilience, Reese continues to inspire others and be a role model for standing up against hate and discrimination.

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