Long after the confetti came down in Dallas following LSU’s 102-85 win over Iowa in the NCAA women’s basketball national championship, things seemed to be fine.
And then they weren’t.
All it took was a little prodding from the media. What was an otherwise historic NCAA women’s basketball tournament will now only be remembered by the black eye painted on by the media.
All season, LSU’s star player, Angel Reese, had faced scrutiny for how she presented herself on and off the court. She was labeled as “too hood” and “too ghetto” and was told she “didn’t fit the narrative.”
Meanwhile, Iowa’s star player, Caitlin Clark, was seen frequently taunting her opponents throughout the tournament. This includes Clark doing John Cena’s iconic “You Can’t See Me” gesture to opponents. Instead of receiving harsh labels, she was labeled as “cold” and “savage” as the media brushed off her antics.
During the national championship, trash talking was at an all-time high as Reese and Clark traded jabs. However, it was Reese who had the last laugh, using Clark’s own You Can’t See Me taunt against her while pointing to her ring finger.
While it was all fun in the name of the sport, many people didn’t see it like that. Following a question in the postgame conference, Reese referred to the hate she received throughout the season and said she did it for “the girls that look like me.”
That sparked a public outcry. People labeled Reese as classless and racist while also defending Clark. Still, others supported Reese, stating that what she did was perfectly in line with how the game is played.
Some even went as far as saying that the negative coverage of two women trash talking each other in a game was a sign of antifeminism. These people cited that men have done far worse in games and have never received the kind of attention that Reese’s incident got.
What was lost in the heat of all this was the fact that the media once again reared its ugly head and divided people over nothing. The media not only publicized Reese’s actions but also turned a blind eye to Clark’s actions. As a result, both players now face backlash over an incident that neither player was fazed by.
This is far from the first time the media has blown something small out of proportion, and it won’t be the last.
Though racism and antifeminism remain hot-button topics in society, neither of those were on people’s minds during the game. If anything, the opposite was true, as a record number of people tuned in to watch LSU and Iowa face off.
As members of the media, we at The Spectator believe that the media’s response to such a lighthearted and common occurrence in sports was uncalled for. Instead of furthering the progress that had been made in the women’s game, some elements of the media hindered it.
While the public played their part in the incident, it was the media who fueled the narratives. This goes directly against the media’s role in society. Instead of stating the facts and providing information to the public, the media built their own narrative to fit their agenda.
The media had the right intentions in bringing attention to the fight for equity for minorities and women. However, they did in the worst possible way.
There are far more severe injustices against minorities and women that occur every day. Instead of bringing awareness to those issues, the media focused on something that is commonplace in sports and caused someone to receive more hatred for just being themselves.
Just as the media holds other people accountable, we believe that the media should be held accountable for the double standard they had in their coverage of the incident.
Otherwise, instances like this will only continue to happen.
This editorial reflects the general opinion of The Spectator.