Taylor Rooks Claps Back At Emmanuel Acho For “Villainous” Angel Reese Remarks

Emmanuel Acho‘s comments critiquing Angel Reese‘s tearful pleas for compassion after LSU‘s NCAA Tournament loss to Iowa have placed the television host and former athlete under the scope.

One person who was particularly disturbed by Acho’s take on Reese, whom he described as a “villainous” figure, is Taylor Rooks. The sports journalist and broadcaster clapped back, albeit “respectfully,” at her colleague. In a response to Acho’s tweet sharing a clip of him and his FS1 SPEAK cohosts discussing LSU’s loss and their subsequent presser, Rooks blasted Acho’s assertion that his remarks were “gender neutral” and had nothing to do with race.

“The disappointing thing about this take is you actually can’t have an informed opinion on this if you are choosing to be gender neutral and racially indifferent,” the 31-year-old began the lengthy message. “Because that is impossible. 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.

“Your response here is actually full of opinions that indirectly (and directly) involve both race and gender. It’s just coded to unsuccessfully soften the blow. You have to ask why Angel became the villain. You have to ask why her role as ‘villain’ has not allowed her to also be human. You have to wonder why her being asked a question and simply answering has led to this level of discourse. “

Taylor Rooks looks on before the game between the Chicago Bears and the Washington Commanders at FedExField on October 05, 2023 in Landover, Maryland.

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Rooks continued by laying into Acho and others’ suggestion that Reese’s mannerisms and self-expression on and off-court have opened her up to the mounting criticism she’s received. “You have to ask what you mean when you say Angel wants to talk grown or pose grown??

“What is ‘grown’ a substitute for? You have to ask why trash-talking – a practice many athletes engage in – is seen so much harsher when it comes from someone that looks like her. You have to ask how some of the ideas you expressed fuel the fire of the aforementioned marginalization.

“You have to ask why you heard her discuss unacceptable treatment and your reaction was to discuss how she can’t address it. And I have to ask if you spoke to any black women athletes about their experiences in order to give a more enlightened take before you came and said this.”

Angel Reese Tearful Speech St Press Conference

Angel Reese #10 of the LSU Tigers speaks with the media after losing to the Iowa Hawkeyes 94-87 in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on April 01, 2024 in Albany, New York.

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The Bleacher Report journo agreed with Acho and others’ point that Reese or others shouldn’t be above the reproach of judgement and added that the 2023 NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player has a right to defend herself when warranted. “Angel has absolutely made herself a public figure and she should be open to the criticism pertaining her game and persona,” Rooks acknowledged.

“She should also be allowed to express when those criticisms are out of bounds. Why did you cling to her reaction as opposed to the vitriol that caused it? She certainly does not deserve sympathy for losing a game. She deserves sympathy for being attacked and targeted for things outside of said game. As much as you believe this to be a take without bias, your reasoning proves the point you are fighting against.”

Taylor Rooks Wearing Green Dress

Taylor Rooks attends the Fanatics x NBPA Summer Players Party hosted by Michael Rubin at Tao Nightclub at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas on July 08, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Greg Doherty/Getty Images

On Tuesday’s (April 2) episode of FS1 SPEAK, Emmanuel Acho appeared to defend critics of Reese while lambasting her emotional display following LSU’s Elite Eight loss. “Angel Reese, you can’t be the big bad wolf and then kind of cry like Courage the Cowardly Dog,” the 33-year-old said while discussing the topic.

“Nobody mourns when the villain catches an L, and, Angel Reese, you’re self-proclaimed to be the villain. Shoutout to you because you were the second-best basketball player on the court [against Iowa], and it was not close.”

He added, “You can’t, under any circumstances, go to the podium and now try to ask for individuals to give you sympathy. Nobody has sympathy for the villain. You painted the bullseye on your back. Why are you surprised when people shoot at you?”

Emmanuel Acho Wearing Blue Jacket And White Shirt

Emmanuel Acho attends the Los Angeles Premiere Of Netflix’s “Quarterback” at TUDUM Theater on July 11, 2023 in Hollywood, California.

JC Olivera/Getty Images

On Monday night (April 1), Reese opened up about the negativity she’s endured after rising to fame following her standout performance in the 2023 NCAA Tournament championship, which catapulted the Lady Tiger to stardom.

“I’ve been through so much,” the 21-year-old lamented while addressing reporters. “I’ve seen so much. I’ve been attacked so many times, death threats, I’ve been sexualized, I’ve been threatened, I’ve been so many things, and I’ve stood strong every single time.”

Angel Reese Wearing Dress

Angel Reese attends the 2023 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Launch at Hard Rock Hotel New York on May 18, 2023 in New York City.

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Reese continued, “All this has happened since I won the national championship,” she said. “And it sucks, but I still wouldn’t change anything, and I would still sit here and say I’m unapologetically me. I’m going to always leave that mark and be who I am and stand on that.”

See Taylor Rooks’ response to Emmanuel Acho below.