Louisiana State University star forward Angel Reese opened up Monday about some of the online abuse and attacks she’s faced with her ascension to stardom over the past year.

The college basketball star tearfully discussed her experiences during a press conference on Monday night after the LSU Tigers lost 94-87 to Iowa’s Hawkeyes in the Elite Eight level of the NCAA tournament.

“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,” she said. “I don’t really get to speak out on things just because I just try to ignore. I just try to stand strong.”

“I’ve been through so much, I’ve seen so much. I’ve been attacked so many times,” she added. “Death threats, I’ve been sexualized, I’ve been threatened — so many things, and I’ve stood strong every single time.”

The LSU star said she has focused on remaining strong for her teammates.

“I’m still a human,” she said. “All this has happened since I won a national championship, and I said the other day, I haven’t had peace since then.”

But Reese added that she “wouldn’t change anything” regardless and that she’s “unapologetically me.”

The forward’s remarks followed touching speeches by teammates Flau’jae Johnson and Hailey Van Lith, who both praised her leadership and strength amid the online criticism she faces.

“Everybody can have their opinion on Angel Reese, but y’all don’t know her. Y’all don’t know Angel Reese,” Johnson said, later adding, “The crown she wears is heavy, bro.”

Johnson then called out the media for vilifying Reese, saying that her teammate makes her a “better player.”

Van Lith chimed in: “People speak hate into her life.”

Last year, the Tigers defeated the Hawkeyes in the championship game of the NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball tournament, marking LSU’s first national basketball title.

Reese, who was named most outstanding player last year, was criticized for her trash-talking behavior in the competitive game.

In the final moments of the game, Reese waved her hand in front of her face in a gesture toward Iowa’s superstar point guard, Caitlin Clark. The hand gesture, known as the “You can’t see me” move, was popularized by pro wrestler/actor John Cena.

Reese had also pointed to her ring finger while looking at Clark, indicating that her team was set to receive championship rings.

Some criticized the LSU player as “classless” over the gestures.

Sports commentator Keith Olbermann tweeted at the time that Reese was a “fucking idiot,” although he later walked back his remarks.

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy called her a “classless piece of shit.”

Many have since called out the fact that the outrage directed toward Reese, who is Black, was rooted in racism and sexism, since male players and white female players typically are treated differently for similar conduct.

Clark, who’s white, had done the same “You can’t see me” gesture, and she memorably waved off South Carolina player Raven Johnson when she didn’t bother to guard Johnson during a game last year. She did not face the same kind of backlash that Reese did.

The University of Iowa basketball star even acknowledged the harsh response Reese had received after the championship game, telling ESPN last year that she didn’t think Reese should have faced “any criticism for what she did.”

On Friday, Los Angeles Times columnist Ben Bolch was widely criticized for referring to the LSU Tigers as “dirty debutantes” and “villains.” He later issued an apology after a firestorm of criticism, including from LSU coach Kim Mulkey.

“Our society has had to deal with so many layers of misogyny, racism and negativity that I can now see why the words I used were wrong,” Bolch wrote in his apology.

Van Lith, who is white, called out the column over the weekend.

“I’ll talk trash and I’ll get a different reaction than if Angel [Reese] talks trash,” she told ESPN. “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.”


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