Emmanuel Acho, a sports analyst and former NFL player, is catching heat for his recent criticism of Louisiana State University forward Angel Reese.

On Tuesday’s broadcast of the Fox Sports 1 show “Speak,” Acho discussed Reese’s emotional remarks at a press conference the previous day, when the LSU Tigers lost 94-87 to the Iowa Hawkeyes in an Elite Eight game of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

Speaking about her comments — in which Reese said that she’s been sharply criticized online and received death threats — Acho said that he was giving a “gender-neutral, racially indifferent take” on the college basketball star, who is Black.

“You can’t be the big, bad wolf but then cry like Courage the Cowardly Dog,” he said, referencing the timorous Cartoon Network character.

“If you want to act grown, which she has, if you want to get paid like you’re grown, which you are, if you want to talk to grown folks like you’re grown, which you did … then post-game when you take an ‘L,’ you’ve just got to take it on the chin,” he said.

“What frustrated me is when you want to be the villain, but you want to hope for sympathy like a hero,” he added. Reese has spoken out about being labeled a villain for her competitive conduct on the court.

Acho’s co-hosts, LeSean McCoy and James Jones, agreed with some of his points. McCoy added that Reese shouldn’t have cried at the press conference, saying that she should’ve instead stood “10 toes down.”

But Acho, who shared a clip of his remarks about Reese on X, formerly Twitter, received swift backlash online.

Many people on social media called out the fact that Acho, who is also Black, was misguided in thinking he could analyze Reese’s experience while putting aside her identity as a Black woman.

On Thursday, he posted a video on X thanking those who “respectfully reprimanded” him over his remarks about Reese.

A representative for Acho did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

LSU's Flau'jae Johnson, left, is seen wiping Angel Reese's tears during a press conference after the Lady Tigers lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the NCAA women's basketball tournament on April 1, 2024, in Albany, New York.
LSU’s Flau’jae Johnson, left, is seen wiping Angel Reese’s tears during a press conference after the Lady Tigers lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament on April 1, 2024, in Albany, New York.

Sarah Stier via Getty Images

“Speak” co-host Joy Taylor immediately pushed back on Acho’s remarks during Tuesday’s broadcast. She questioned why Reese had been made out to be a villain in the public eye.

“She didn’t make herself the villain. She showed up unapologetically herself in the same way that men do all the time,” she said, later adding that what Reese “experiences is not the same thing as what everyone is experiencing.”

On Wednesday, sports journalist Taylor Rooks also called out Acho’s remarks, saying that it is “impossible” to be gender-neutral and racially indifferent when discussing Reese’s experience.

“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,” she wrote on X, saying that Acho’s remarks were “coded” and biased.

“Opinions are opinions, and everyone is entitled, but our opinions are shaped by the paradigms we know,” she added.

During Monday night’s press conference, Reese’s teammates spoke out about how the forward is disparaged online and how she’s often vilified in the media.

Reese was then asked to share what her experience has been like with her ascension to stardom.

She fought back tears as she said that she tries to stay strong for her teammates.

“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.”

She said that she hasn’t “had peace” since LSU defeated the Hawkeyes in the championship game of the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament last year.

Reese has been harshly criticized for her trash talk during games, while male players and white female players are typically treated differently for similar conduct.

Acho acknowledged in his video Thursday that he understood some of the backlash he received for his remarks, though he did not offer an apology in his statement.

“I do not stand on a hill saying that I am right and you are wrong,” he said. “I simply stand on a place saying: ‘Hey, this is what I believe. What do you believe? Let’s listen to one another and construct our collective beliefs.’”

Reese, meanwhile, announced in a Vogue interview Wednesday that she’s planning to enter the WNBA draft.

Check out some of the criticisms of Acho’s remarks about Reese below:


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