Vice President Kamala Harris’ appearance at a March Madness game between Howard University and Kansas has sparked controversy and renewed discussions about the unpopularity of the Biden administration. Harris, a Howard alumna, was mercilessly booed by the crowd upon her introduction on the big screen and later faced ridicule online for her cringe-worthy locker room remarks following the team’s 96-68 loss.
Harris graduated from Howard in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics.
Every team that loses should have to listen to this as punishment.
— California Wager (@CaliforniaWager) March 16, 2023
Harris appeared with her husband, Doug Emhoff, to give a “pep talk” to the Howard team in their locker room after the game. She praised the players’ effort, saying, “You played hard. You played to the very last second. You made all us Bisons proud.”
The reaction to Harris’ appearance on social media was far from positive. Critics called her speech condescending, with one person even suggesting it should be used as punishment for losing teams.
Another Twitter user wrote, “there is something very wrong with this woman.” Another pointed out the insult added to the Howard team’s injury, observing that in addition to losing the game, they “then had to be subjected to this speech.”
Howard was appearing in the school’s third NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, earning the 16 seed in the West Regional. Kansas went on to lose to 8th seed Arkansas on Saturday.
Harris told reporters during the game, “So many of us who are here, we love our school.” She added, “I mean, here we are in Des Moines. And they are having a tough time, they work hard, they are so disciplined and it is a joy to watch them here in March Madness.”
Harris’ harsh reception at the game is not entirely surprising, considering Kansas and Iowa are Republican-leaning states. However, it does shed light on the broader issue of the Biden administration’s dwindling popularity. As the administration continues to face criticism on various fronts, such instances serve as stark reminders of the political divide and dissatisfaction plaguing the country.
Despite the negative backlash, the players from Howard University dutifully attempted to appreciate Harris’ support. Freshman forward Shy Odom expressed gratitude for her affiliation with his school and encouragement. Additionally, coach Kenny Blakeney praised his team’s growth throughout the season, expressing his pride in representing Howard University and its legacy.