HOUSTON — It is apparently news to a whole lot of people that women, women athletes in particular, are not shrinking violets.
They talk trash every bit as much as male athletes, and they’re equally adept at handling being on the receiving end of it. They don’t need their feelings spared, and they most certainly don’t need anyone inviting them to the White House so everyone feels good about themselves and no one feels left out.
These are Division I college athletes. They stopped getting excited by participation trophies years ago — if they ever were.
Reese is right. That’s not how this works, and LSU should not have to share its hard-earned spotlight because some people can’t wrap their heads around the fact women are not special snowflakes who can’t handle disappointment or adversity.
“I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game,” Jill Biden said Monday during an appearance in Denver.
Biden’s idea is insulting to LSU. The Tigers won their first national title in decisive fashion, and they don’t owe concessions to anyone. About anything. But it’s also insulting to Iowa, implying the Hawkeyes are such delicate flowers they need to be propped up emotionally by a visit to the White House.
What, are the President or First Lady going to pat the Hawkeyes on the head, too? Give them lollipops and tell them how hard they played?
White House visits have traditionally been one of the perks for the national champs, and the women’s runners-up – in any sport – have managed to get on with their lives just fine. Iowa will, too.
And I’d wager a guess that Caitlin Clark would rather spend her time in the gym, working to ensure Iowa’s season ends differently next year, than going to Washington and pretending this isn’t the diplomatic equivalent of a make-up call.
Trust me when I tell you that women don’t need your paternalism. We’ve spent our entire lives overcoming slights and insults, of soldiering on despite being told we’re not good enough or aren’t as deserving of fill-in-the-blank as the boys and men. We have survived and, as the women’s tournament this year has shown, we have thrived.
It’s amazing that Biden herself didn’t recognize this. Or that the people around her didn’t tell her what a bad idea this was.
Biden, who was at Sunday’s title game, might have thought she was doing something nice for both teams. Instead, she diminished both of their accomplishments.
Women want parity, not pity parties. Even if they take place at the White House.
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.