Emmanuel Acho responds to critics who ‘respectfully reprimanded’ him over his Angel Reese comments

Former NFL linebacker-turned-television sports analyst Emmanuel Acho faced some backlash due to recent comments about college basketball star Angel Reese.

During Tuesday’s edition of the Fox Sports show “Speak,” Acho and the panel began discussing Reese’s emotional press conference when the All-American opened up about some of the criticism she dealt with over the past year.

“I’ve been through so much,” Reese said. “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,” Reese said after LSU lost 94-87 to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Elite Eight.

“I just try to stand strong for my teammates because I don’t want them to see me down and not be there for them. I’m still a human. All this has happened since I won the national championship. I haven’t had peace since then.”

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Emmanuel Acho speaks onstage during the SXSW “What Makes America Sweat & Why We Give a Damn” panel March 14, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Degree® Deodorant)

Acho prefaced his comments by saying he was sharing a “gender-neutral, racially indifferent take” on Reese and her remarks. 

“You can’t be the big, bad wolf but then cry like Courage the Cowardly Dog,” he said, referencing the Cartoon Network character.

LSU’S KIM MULKEY POSTS PROUD MESSAGE FOR ANGEL REESE AFTER REESE DECLARES FOR WNBA DRAFT

Acho suggested Reese should have handled the defeat differently.

“If you want to act grown, which she has; if you want to get paid like you’re grown, which you are; if you want to talk to grown folks like you’re grown, which you did … then postgame when you take an ‘L,’ you’ve just got to take it on the chin,” he said.

Angel Reese with her teammates

Angel Reese (10) of the LSU Tigers during the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament at MVP Arena April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y.  (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

“What frustrated me is when you want to be the villain, but you want to hope for sympathy like a hero,” he added. Reese has spoken out about being labeled a villain for her competitive conduct on the court.

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“Speak” co-hosts LeSean McCoy and James Jones seemed to agree with Acho’s take. But Acho faced his share of detractors, including his other co-host, Joy Taylor, who questioned why Reese had become publicly known as the “villian.”

“She didn’t make herself the villain. She showed up unapologetically herself in the same way that men do all the time,” she said, later adding that what Reese “experiences is not the same thing as what everyone is experiencing.”

Angel Reese looks on

Angel Reese of the LSU Tigers during the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament at MVP Arena April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Acho appeared to take the backlash in stride and took to social media to thank those who he said “respectfully reprimanded” him.

“I do not stand on a hill saying that I am right and you are wrong,” he said. “I simply stand on a place saying: ‘Hey, this is what I believe. What do you believe? Let’s listen to one another and construct our collective beliefs.’”

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Earlier this week, Reese confirmed she plans to leave LSU and enter the WNBA Draft. She is projected to be a top-10 pick.

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Reese averaged 18.6 points and 13.4 rebounds over 33 games this season.

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