Kim Mulkey goes scorched earth on LA Times for LSU column after Washington Post report

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In a surprise twist, LSU coach Kim Mulkey on Saturday railed on a different outlet and story other than the Washington Post for its highly anticipated article that she previously called a “hit piece.”

After defending national champion LSU rallied to beat UCLA and advance to the Elite Eight in the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament, Mulkey fired back at the Los Angeles Times for what she called a “sexist” commentary by Ben Bolch.

The column painted the Sweet 16 matchup as “good versus evil. Right versus wrong. Inclusive versus divisive.”

Warning: A search of the terms below will bring up graphic content

One paragraph that really set off Mulkey reads, “Do you prefer America’s sweethearts or its dirty debutantes? Milk and cookies or Louisiana hot sauce.”

Head coach Kim Mulkey of the LSU Tigers reacts in a game against the UCLA Bruins during the second half in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 30, 2024 in Albany, New York. Getty Images

“The one thing I’m not going to let you do, I’m not going to let you attack young people, and there were some things in this commentary, guys, that you should be offended by as women. It was so sexist, and they don’t even know it,” Mulkey said.

“It was good versus evil in that game today. Evil? Called us dirty debutants? Take your phone out right now and Google dirty debutantes and tell me what it says. Dirty debutantes? Are you kidding me? I’m not going to let you talk about 18-to-21-year-old kids in that tone.

“It was even sexist for this reporter to say UCLA was milk and cookies.”

Mulkey has been combative with reporters and has overshadowed Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark over the last week — ever since she preemptively threatened to sue The Washington Post over an article that she declined to be interviewed for.

That article was published Saturday, a few hours before tip-off.

Mulkey, before and after the game, said she had not yet read it, but she certainly saw the Los Angeles Times piece after someone sent it to her.

“Now, you women sit there and you keep your mouths shut if you want,” Mulkey said after the game. “I’m in the last third of my career, but I’m not going to let sexism continue. And if you don’t think that’s sexism, then you’re in denial.

“How dare people attack kids like that? You don’t have to like the way we play. You don’t have to like the way we trash talk. You don’t have to like any of that. We’re good with that. But I can’t sit up here as a mother and a grandmother and a leader of young people and allow somebody to say that.”

Head coach Kim Mulkey of the LSU Tigers reacts in a game against the UCLA Bruins during the first half in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 30, 2024 in Albany, New York. Getty Images

Bolch was in Albany to cover the game.

It is unclear if he responded to Mulkey.

“Guys, that’s wrong,” the head coach told the crowd in the postgame interview room. “I don’t even know what dirty debutantes are, but I know when I Googled it, I [gasped].

“Growing the game was a part of [the story]. How many of you have been to Baton Rouge, La. — raise your hand — and seen our games? How many of you have been to an SEC game when you played on the road? You want to talk about growing the game? Go see our crowds, people. I don’t get that. I’m sorry. I come from a different generation. I get it. But I know sexism when I see it and I read it. That was awful.”

The Washington Post story turned out to be a deep dive into the relationships between Mulkey and family members and some former players like WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, who was detained in Russia for nearly 300 days.

The article says Mulkey is “known to hold grudges and clash with players, including about their appearances and displays of their sexuality.”

Head coach Kim Mulkey of the LSU Tigers reacts to Mikaylah Williams #12 of the LSU Tigers in a game against the UCLA Bruins during the first half in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 30, 2024 in Albany, New York. Getty Images

Through attorneys, Mulkey denied that she treated gay players “more harshly or differently,” and she pushed back against the notion that she didn’t support Griner, again through her lawyers.

LSU did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post about the Washington Post article.

Mulkey thought the timing of the story’s publication to coincide with LSU’s tip-off was curious.

“Imagine that,” she said. “Must have thought y’all would look at it, get some clicks or be a distraction. No, ma’am, I haven’t read it and I probably won’t read it. I probably will have my attorneys communicate with me to see if there’s anything in there that we need to be concerned about.”

UCLA coach Cori Close, who initially reposted the LA Times column on social media, shared an apology on X on Saturday night.

“I made a huge mistake in reposting without reading it first, and I am very sorry for that. I would never want to promote anything that tears down a group of people in our great game,” Close wrote in her statement. “I do not condone racism, sexism or inflammatory comments aimed at individuals in our community.

“I apologize to Kim Mulkey and the entire LSU women’s basketball program; I only want to grow our game and have a positive impact on the people who come together because of basketball.”

LSU will face Iowa and Clark in a rematch of the 2023 national championship game on Monday in the Elite Eight.

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