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Harris hears boos at March Madness game, faces ridicule for speech to Howard players after loss

Vice President Kamala Harris, unfortunately, witnessed her alma mater, Howard University, lose to the defending NCAA men’s basketball national champion Kansas on Thursday, 96-68.

Howard and Kansas played at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, and when Harris appeared on the video board, she received an icy reception. According to multiple reports, the boos outweighed the cheers from the fans.

After the game, the vice president got a chance to give downtrodden Bison players a pep talk in their locker room after their loss.

“You played hard. You played to the very last second. You made all us Bisons proud,” she said. “You are smart. You are disciplined. You put everything you had into the game. You guys did not stop, and that is so inspiring. So you keep playing with chin up and shoulders back because you showed the world who Bison are.


Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. loses the ball out of bounds in front of Howard guard Bryce Harris, #34, in the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 16, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.

“So I know you may not be feeling great right now, OK, but know who you are. You are excellence. You are hard work. You are powerful, and you are winners.”

Harris’ speech, however, did not really resonate with the rest of social media.

Howard was just in their third NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearance in program history. It was the second time the team was selected as a No. 16 seed. The Bison were a No. 12 seed in 1981.

Vice President Kamala Harris and husband Douglas Emhoff watch during the second half of a first-round college basketball game between Howard and Kansas in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 16, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.

This season, Howard coach Kenneth Blakeney led the team to a 22-12 – his best record yet as the head coach. It was only three years ago when Howard only had four wins.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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