Iowa vs LSU players hugging


‘They hate America’: Iowa’s victory over LSU twisted into a racist rallying cry by far-right

The drama started when LSU missed the national anthem.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Apr 2, 2024

Conservatives online are cheering for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team and its star player Caitlin Clark after its opponent Monday, Louisiana State University, was not on the court for the national anthem.

Iowa defeated LSU 94-87 and advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The team will play UConn for a shot at the championship on Friday.

“LSU Women’s Basketball Team skipped the National Anthem Iowa stood proud,” one right-wing commentator opined on X along with a video showing the absence of LSU during the “Star-Spangled Banner.” “LSU just got their ass beat. With the entire stadium cheering against them. Season over. Let this be a lesson to all players: the cringy, selfish woke athlete moment is OVER.”

“This is the LSU women’s basketball team. They walked off the court during the National Anthem,” wrote the prominent right-wing account Libs of TikTok. “They just got CRUSHED by Iowa 94-87. LOVE TO SEE IT!”

“Absolutely despicable and disgusting moment as LSU women’s basketball players leave the court during the National Anthem.. in the Women’s NCAA Tournament..” wrote another conservative account. “They lost.. Good riddance..”

However, the video circulating on social media does not show the team leaving mid-national anthem; they were already off the court and missed it entirely.

LSU head coach Kim Mulkey said there was “nothing intentionally done” in missing the anthem and chalked it up to the team’s pregame routine.

“Honestly, I don’t even know when the anthem was played,” Mulkey said. “We kind of have a routine when [our players are] on the floor, and they come off at the 12-minute mark [prior to the game].”

Some people online argued that some cheering for Iowa were doing so because of “racial undertones.”

“Weird times a certain subsection of people rooted for Iowa to beat LSU because of racial undertones and are now treating LSU’s actions on the National Anthem like Iowa’s win was like some strange racial cosmic woke go broke justice,” wrote one person on X.

LSU’s Angel Reese is a frequent target and faced death threats after her team beat Clark and Iowa for the national championship last year—and similar rhetoric could be seen on social media after LSU’s loss on Monday.

“I’ve seen so much,” Reese said after the game. “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 also remarked on her post-game exchange with Clark, saying: “She just told me continue to be a great player, and I told her continue to be a great player as well. And keep elevating the game. And go win it.”

LSU guard Hailey Van Lith defended Reese and the team ahead of the game on Sunday, saying that negative comments about LSU’s team are fueled by racism.

“We do have a lot of Black women on this team, and unfortunately, that bias does exist still today, and a lot of the people that are making those comments are being racist towards my teammates,” Van Lith said, according to ESPN.

Online, a comparison from last year of the two locker room’s pregame routines was met with racist comments.

“They hate America,” said one responder. “The hate Christianity. These should not be the role models that young girls look up to. Much props to Iowa women’s basketball for their patriotism and faith in Christianity.”

“I’m in a unique situation where I see with myself, I’ll talk trash and I’ll get a different reaction than if Angel [Reese] talks trash. I have a duty to my teammates to have their back. Some of the words that were used in that article were very sad and upsetting,” Van Lith said, referencing a Los Angeles Times column that described players as “dirty debutantes.”

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*First Published: Apr 2, 2024, 9:24 am CDT