Emmanuel Acho is catching a lot of heat over his comments surrounding Angel Reese‘s recent press conference following LSU and Iowa’s final 2024 playoff game.

All eyes have been on the March Madness basketball games leading up to the NCAA Final Four Championship games. Since Angel Reese transferred from the University of Maryland to LSU in time for the 2022-23 basketball season, she’s been a topic of conversation. Her platform quickly grew more during last year’s match-up against the Iowa Hawkeyes, whose star play is Caitlin Clark. Things got intense between the two players due to their intense passion for the sport, which naturally comes some trash-talking. LSU ultimately beat the Iowa 102 to 85 and won the championship.

Since leading her team to become national champions, the media has been paying close attention to Reese, who is often criticized for doing the same things other female and male athletes do. The college student has been at the receiving end of racism, gender bias and bullying.

During this year’s tournament, the two leading teams were paired up again. Due to the nature and outcome of the previous match-up, the anticipation for this year’s sequel was at an all-time high. After leaving it all on the court, Iowa beat the defending champions 94 to 87 to continue to the women’s Final Four on April 1. Following the game, Reese, along with her teammates Flau’jae Johnson and Hailey Van Lith, shared the stage for the post-game press conference.

While speaking to the press, the Maryland native opened up about how hard the past year has been because of the constant torment she’s been getting from the media and sports fans.

“I don’t really get to stand up for myself. I mean, I have great teammates. I have a great support system. I got my hometown. I got my family that stands up for me. I don’t really get to speak out on things just because I just try to ignore, and I just try to stand strong,” the 21-year-old while fighting back tears. “I’ve been through so much. I’ve seen so much. I’ve been attacked so many times, death threats, I’ve been sexualized, I’ve been threatened, I’ve been so many things and I’ve stood strong every single time.”

She continued, “All this has happened since I won the national championship and I said the other day that I haven’t had peace since then and it sucks, but I still wouldn’t change anything. And I would still sit here and say I’m unapologetically me.”


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Following her comments, Johnson took a moment to defend her friend: “Everybody can have their opinion on Angel Reese, but y’all don’t know her. Like y’all don’t know Angel Reese. I know Angel Reese, I know the real Angel Reese. And the person I see every day is a strong person, is a caring, loving person. The crown she wears is heavy bro. She’s the type of teammate that’s gonna make you believe in yourself. The leap that I took from my freshman and sophomore year, Angel gave me that confidence to go be a dog.”

“The media…how y’all like to twist it and call her the villain and all that — y’all don’t know Angel,” she added.


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On April 2, Acho posted a clip of his thoughts about Reese’s press conference comments on SPEAK Live.

“I’m about to give a gender-neutral, racially indifferent take,” he began. “Angel Reese, you can’t be the big bad wolf but then kind of cry like Courage the Cowardly Dog, because if you want to act grown, which she has, if you want to get paid like you grown, which you are, if you want to talk to grown folks like you’re grown, which you did post-game when you told a coach from an opposing team, ‘Watch yo mouth.’ If you want to tell people to ‘Get your money up,’ then post-game win you take a L, you just gotta take it on the chin. Nobody mourns when the villain catches an L.”

Acho’s colleague and sports journalist Taylor Rooks called him out on his comments.

“Respectfully, colleague – The disappointing thing about this take is you actually can’t have an informed opinion on this if you are choosing to be gender neutral and racially indifferent. Because that is impossible,” she tweeted. “Her existence as a black woman shapes both how she is seen by others and how she sees the world. And in this case how she is seen by you.”

Rocks tweet continued, “Your response here is actually full of opinions that indirectly (and directly) involve both race and gender. It’s just coded to unsuccessfully soften the blow. You have to ask why Angel became the villain. You have to ask why her role as ‘villain’ has not allowed her to also be human. You have to wonder why her being asked a question and simply answering has led to this level of discourse. You have to ask what you mean when you say Angel wants to talk grown or pose grown?? What is ‘grown’ a substitute for? You have to ask why trash talking – a practice many athletes engage in – is seen so much harsher when it comes from someone that looks like her.”

Others also took issue with Acho’s comments. X, formerly known as Twitter, user @bahamiangyal23 wrote, “Are you serious? She was asked about her experience, was painted the villain by the media and she shared ‘her truth’! Angel has not done anything to warrant a death threat or racial attacks. This is insensitive and a vile comment to make.”

User @Rob8409316 commented, “Man.. you really don’t deserve the platform you have.. this is a horrible message..”

Another user @_bobbyfoster responded, “This is basically you saying that she asked for and deserves death threats and racism because of how she acts on a basketball court. Wild take.”

Reese hasn’t responded to Acho’s criticism of her, but as Blavity reported, she’s got her eyes on the WNBA draft. We’re rooting for you, Angel!