Dan Piller was a business reporter for more than four decades, working for the Des Moines Register and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He covered the oil and gas industry while in Texas and was the Register’s agriculture reporter before his retirement in 2013. He lives in Ankeny.
The overheated commentary in the aftermath of the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four has focused on race: the mostly-white Iowa women led by Caitlin Clark against the Black women from South Carolina and Louisiana State University.
Many saw racial overtones in the critiques of LSU player Angel Reese’s gestures toward Clark near the end of the championship game. Reese noted at the post-game press conference that all season, people have tried to “put her in a box” and said she’s “too hood” and “ghetto.” (Clark said in a later interview she didn’t “think Angel should be criticized at all,” adding that trash talk is part of the game.)
Race is always present in sports culture. But with today’s college athletes, a new factor has arisen that may be even bigger.
It’s money. The Iowa-LSU game coincided with a new era, where college athletes at long last are getting a share of what has been a rich marketing pie. Clark and Reese competed for their schools and states, to be sure, but it was also a battle of brands.Continue Reading...