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Caitlin Clark addresses backlash against Angel Reese for hand gesture in championship game

Reese faced criticism on Twitter for her "you can't see me" gesture toward Clark in the women's college basketball championship game.
/ Source: TODAY

Iowa basketball star Caitlin Clark is diffusing a heated Twitter debate regarding whether LSU's Angel Reese was wrong for doing the "you can't see me" gesture in Clark's face during the NCAA women's basketball championship game on April 2.

“I don’t think Angel should be criticized at all," Clark said on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on April 4, two days after LSU defeated Iowa, 102-85.

"No matter which way it goes, she should never be criticized for what she did," the Naismith player of the year said. "I'm just one that competes and she competed."

The sharpshooter said trash-talking was a part of "the entire tournament."

"It's not just me and Angel," she said.

Clark congratulated LSU on a great game played.

"LSU deserves it," she said. "They played so well. Like I said, I'm a big fan of hers."

Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Lady Tigers reacts towards Caitlin Clark #22
Angel Reese doing the "you can't see me" gesture to Caitlin Clark during the women's college basketball championship game.Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Reese's hand gesture was debated on Twitter, with critics accusing her of unsportsmanlike conduct or calling the gesture "classless." Others defended her, with some saying the backlash was because of her race.

Twitter users continued to share their thoughts after Clark's comments on "Outside the Lines."

“Fair enough,” someone tweeted. “Like it or hate it we can all agree to disagree and move forward. I think as people we are all in the moment, and sure we all have our reasons but we can move forward as people. Kudos for (Caitlin) being real about it on her end and they both made us want to watch.”

"Further proof other people made it more of a big deal than the people who actually played," someone else said.

"Simple as that," another tweet read. "No one else should be offended by it."

LSU coach Kim Mulkey said on the 3rd hour of TODAY on April 3 that “social media is the world we live in, like it or not.”

“She’s not going to apologize for it. ... She trash-talks on the court, but she doesn’t cross, really, the line of vulgarity,” Mulkey said.

Reese was asked about the backlash during a postgame press conference. She said people criticized her all year and she’s not going to change who she is.

“I don’t fit the narrative. I don’t fit in a box that y’all want me to be in. 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,” she said, referring to Clark making the gesture against Louisville on March 26.

“This was for the girls that look like me, that’s going to speak up on what they believe in,” she said. “It’s unapologetically you. That’s what I did it for tonight. It was bigger than me tonight. It was bigger than me. Twitter is going to go on a rage every time, and I’m happy. I feel like I’ve helped grow women’s basketball this year.”

Clark was also asked about it after the game.

Clark said she had “no idea” Reese was taunting her because she was too focused on getting into the postgame handshake line. She then congratulated LSU on the win.

“That’s all you can do, is hold your head high,” she said, “be proud of what you did. And all the credit in the world to LSU. They were tremendous. They deserve it. They had a tremendous season.”