LSU forward Angel Reese (10) shows Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) her ring finger LSU forward Angel Reese (10) shows Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) her ring finger during final seconds of the NCAA Women’s National Championship basketball game in Dallas, Sunday, April 2, 2023. Hawks22 Jpg Syndication Hawkcentral

As the clock wound down Sunday and the LSU Tigers were assured of victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2023 women’s national championship game, Angel Reese went out of her way to give Caitlin Clark a taste of her own medicine, showing off her ring finger and throwing the “you can’t see me” gesture as she followed Clark across the court.

It was a moment made for Twitter. Or perhaps more aptly, it was the kind of moment where Twitter reminds you why it’s such an efficient nightmare factory. Immediate reactions are met by hot takes, which are then hit with reactions, which cause a backlash, everything gets recalibrated through context, and the cycle churns until the conversation burns out.

Was Angel Reese disrespectful and a sore winner? Was this just part of a give-and-take between star competitors? Is it cut and dry or is there nuance here? Perhaps most importantly, is this issue black-and-white, or is it Black or white?

The sports media world spent the rest of its day drawing battle lines for and against Reese, as well as what this moment stood for in the larger context of sportsmanship, competition, and “class.”

There are two pieces of important context at the heart of every reaction to what happened on Sunday.

First, it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Clark did the “you can’t see me” gesture while putting up huge numbers against Louisville in the Elite Eight. It went viral. There are probably people falling all over themselves to tell you they thought it was disrespectful at the time but, by and large, the reaction to Clark’s antics was pretty positive. Hell, even John Cena himself loved it.

Clark has also dished out some other gestures over the course of the last few games. Along with playing to the crowd at various points, she dismissively waived her hand at South Carolina’s Raven Johnson in the Final Four. Again, the reactions were mostly positive and about how “savage” it was, though LSU certainly took notice.

The point is not to say that Clark should have been admonished more for her taunts and gestures, but simply to note that the reaction was pretty positive across the board.

The second piece of critical context is that Reese is Black and Clark is white, as you probably ascertained on your own. And that’s important because we’re literally days away from South Carolina’s Dawn Staley pushing back on media narratives that her team of predominantly Black players is made up of “bar fighters” and “thugs” because of their style of play.

And now, two days later, certain corners of the internet and sports media world are losing their minds over something the Black player did once even though the white player has been taunting her opponents with reckless abandon for weeks now.

And so, when certain hot takes from the sports media world started making themselves known on Twitter and elsewhere, it was pretty apparent that they lacked at least one, if not both, pieces of context (and in some cases, perhaps purposefully).

Setting aside the irony of these old men on opposite sides of the political spectrum coming together to publicly call a 20-year-old woman “a fucking idiot” and “classless piece of shit,” this kind of kneejerk reaction seemed like a classic trap of taking a moment free of context and assigning whatever values you think it violates. To say nothing of the values these men purport to represent.

And it was hard not to notice the reaction these kinds of takes received from the sports media world.

Twitter Main Character Energy aside, there was also room in the sports media world to point out the double standard that seemed to be in play for Reese and how it fits into the larger discussion around women’s college basketball right now.

And then there was Pablo Torre who, along with making a great case for blood feuds between great athletes, also pointed out that, had Iowa won, Clark probably would have done the same thing, leaving us all to wonder if that would have been met with the same reaction.

Of course, both Clark and Reese praised one another after the game and Clark doesn’t seem to be bothered by the gesture. So what does it mean, in the end? The gesture itself ends up being a pretty benign moment. The reaction to the gesture becomes the thing. And we get to learn a little bit about who understands context, who doesn’t, and who decides to make the moment about them either way.


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to