Kim Mulkey’s past controversies revisited in much-anticipated Washington Post report

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The Washington Post article that LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey threatened legal action over was published Saturday, revisiting topics about how the longtime coach treated gay players, how she acted during Baylor football’s sexual assault scandal and her relationships with Brittney Griner and her father, Les. 

Emily Niemann, who played for Baylor during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, alleged that Mulkey called her into the coach’s office and said it’s “not a good look” after Niemann had been spotted in public with another woman.

Niemann later transferred, but wrote in a 2014 piece for Outsports, according to the Washington Post, “did not leave Baylor because coach Mulkey is homophobic.”

Mulkey’s attorneys refuted the allegation that the coach treated players who were gay “more harshly or differently.” 

Mulkey also reportedly criticized star forward Angel Reese for being among the players who “stay on that social media crap,” according to emails that the Washington Post obtained, and told a “supporter” that Reese wasn’t included on awards lists last year due to her GPA.

LSU coach Kim Mulkey during the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

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

“You’re telling me something I didn’t know, so you’re the bearer of good news, bad news, however you want to look at it,” Mulkey told ESPN’s Holly Rowe when the latter revealed that the article had published. “But are you really surprised? Are you really surprised by the timing of it? But I can tell you I haven’t read it. Don’t know that I will read it. I’ll leave that up to my attorneys.”

There had been rumors of a bombshell story being in the works, and Mulkey went on the offensive against the Washington Post before the article came out.

She first threatened to sue the outlet if it published a “false” story, saying she had hired legal representatives, while calling the unreleased story a “hit piece” by writer Kent Babb.

“I’ve hired the best defamation law firm in the country and I will sue the Washington Post if they publish a false story about me,” Mulkey said last weekend. “Not many people are in a position to hold these kinds of journalists accountable, but I am. And I’ll do it.”

Mulkey alleged Babb attempted to “trick” former coaches into providing dirt on her.

“I wouldn’t normally discuss media rumors about me, but I felt the need to publicly address what exactly this reporter for the Washington Post has been doing the past several years, and the lengths he has gone to try and put a hit piece together,” Mulkey said last Saturday. “This reporter has been working on a story about me for two years. After two years of trying to get me to sit with him for an interview, he contacts LSU on Tuesday, as we were getting ready for the first-round game of this [NCAA] tournament, with more than a dozen questions, demanding a response by Thursday right before we’re scheduled to tip off.

“Are you kidding me? This was a ridiculous deadline that LSU and I could not possibly meet, and the reporter knew it. It’s just an attempt to prevent me from commenting and an attempt to distract us from this tournament. It ain’t gonna work, buddy.”

Kim Mulkey led LSU to the national title last year. Scott Clause – USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mulkey said she told Babb she would not participate in an interview, not liking a previous piece he wrote on former Notre Dame and current LSU football coach Brian Kelly.

“Unfortunately, this is part of a pattern that goes back years. I told this reporter two years ago that I didn’t appreciate the hit job he wrote on Brian Kelly, and that’s why I wasn’t going to do an interview with him,” Mulkey said. “After that, the reporter called two former college coaches of mine and left multiple messages that he was with me in Baton Rouge to get them to call him back — trying to trick these coaches into believing that I was working with the Washington Post on a story.”

After LSU rallied to beat No. 11 Middle Tennessee State in the second round on Sunday, she took a shot at Babb when asked if distractions may have caused a slow start.

“No, listen man, we’re not gonna let one sleazy reporter distract us from what we’re trying to do. Absolutely not,” Mulkey said. “My kids didn’t even know I said that yesterday. That team’s not involved in this. They were in shock when they saw all that on the internet. I don’t take that stuff to my team.”

Kim Mulkey hugs Angel Reese. AP

Mulkey is in her third year year at LSU and reportedly agreed to a 10-year, $32 million extension last year following the Tigers’ triumph in the national title game over Iowa, according to The Associated Press.

She previously won three national titles with Baylor in 2005, 2012 and 2019.

LSU, the No. 3 seed in the Albany 2 region, beat No. 2 seed UCLA on Saturday

The will face No. 1 seed Iowa — and Caitlin Clark — in the Elite 8.

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