This national anthem protest led to Caitlin Clark doing the unthinkable

Photo by Aaron Burden from Unsplash

Americans thought the culture wars over the national anthem were over.

But they just returned in a big way.

And this national anthem protest led to one ugly result.

LSU players protest national anthem prior to Elite 8 game against Iowa

The Iowa Hawkeyes took on the LSU Tigers in the Elite 8 of the NCAA women’s tournament.

This was billed as the biggest game in the history of women’s basketball thanks to the presence of Caitlin Clark and the history between the two teams.

LSU won the national title last year defeating Iowa 102-85 in the championship game and drawing a record 9.9 million TV viewers.

Before the game, the LSU players left the court during the playing of the national anthem while the Iowa players stood and held hands to honor America.

LSU hadn’t stayed on the court for The Star Spangled Banner once this year.

But their protest blew up in their face once the game started.

Iowa gets revenge and defeats the Tigers

The rivalry between LSU and Iowa went to a new level last year when LSU star Angel Reese taunted Clark by pointing to her ring finger to signify that while Clark got all the glory for her scoring, Reese was walking out with the title.

Iowa and Clark got the last laugh in the rematch when Iowa won 94 to 87 behind Clark, scoring 41 points while racking up 12 assists and seven rebounds.

“I think just having a little silence for myself was the biggest thing,” Clark told reporters after the game “You’re a competitor, you work so hard for 40 minutes — just to soak it in, enjoy it, take a couple of deep breaths, because these moments go fast. My career is almost over.”

Clark – who is the leading scorer in all of college basketball, came into the game shooting just 28 percent from 3 in the first three games of the tournament.

But Clark lit up LSU, going 9 for 20 from deep.

“Everything averages out over the course of the year,” Clark explained of her shooting turnaround. “I think that just speaks to the confidence I have in myself, the time I put in the gym. I know I’m ready for this moment. I thought my shot felt good in warmups. It certainly helps when you make your first 3 as a shooter, when you can see the ball go in.”

Clark says this wasn’t a revenge game

Clark also told reporters that Iowa didn’t view this game as payback because focusing on revenge would distract from the task at hand. 

“This was no sort of revenge game for us,” Clark concluded. “I feel like if you live in the past too much, it kind of ruins the present. The biggest thing for us was, ‘Worry about Iowa. What does Iowa need to do to win this game?’ I thought we did a really good job of that.”

Should athletes stay on the field of play for the national anthem?