The LSU Athletic Department says it will accept an invitation to the White House despite basketball star Angel Reese claiming that neither she nor her team would participate in the tradition, per CNN.
Coming off an NCAA national championship win against the Iowa Hawkeyes, the LSU Tigers women's basketball team was expected to pay a visit to the White House, an honor usually saved for the reigning champs.
However, first lady Jill Biden suggested that both teams receive an invite this year.
“So I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House, we always do," Biden said Monday (April 3). "So, we hope LSU will come but, you know, I’m going to tell Joe [Biden] I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game.”
Following backlash, the first lady appeared to walk back her suggestion, but Reese said it was too little, too late.
“I don’t accept the apology because you said what you said … You can’t go back on certain things that you say … They can have that spotlight. We’ll go to the Obamas.’ We’ll go see Michelle. We’ll see Barack," Reese said on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast.
The LSU basketball star, who was crowned as the women's tournament Most Outstanding Player, also said: “I just know if the roles were reversed, they wouldn’t be the same. If we were to lose, we would not be getting invited to the White House.”
The podcast appearance came after Reese called Biden's suggestion to invite both teams "a joke" and said on an Instagram post from "The Shade Room": “WE NOT COMING. period.”
Despite Reese's stance, the LSU athletic department said on Wednesday (April 5) that it would “certainly accept an invitation" to the White House, per CNN. Head coach Kim Mulkey also previously said she would go to the White House if invited.
As for the Hawkeyes, star player Caitlin Clark said on Tuesday (April 4) that her team shouldn’t be invited.
“I don’t think runner-ups usually go to the White House. I think LSU should enjoy that moment for them and congratulations, obviously, they deserve to go there. Maybe I could go to the White House on different terms though,” Clark said. “That’s for LSU. That’s a pretty cool moment and they should enjoy every single second of being a champion.”