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Kim Mulkey’s Trumpian attack on the press was a huge mistake

The decorated LSU women’s basketball coach denounced and tried to pre-empt a forthcoming Washington Post article she suggested is critical of her. But her rant only served to draw more attention to it.


Kim Mulkey, the decorated coach of the LSU women’s basketball team, is a stellar play-caller. But her PR skills could clearly use some work.

Mulkey, who has raised four national championship banners as coach at Baylor and Louisiana State, has a history of controversial behavior. She once encouraged Baylor fans to commit violence against people concerned about sending their daughters to the Texas school after its football program became embroiled in a sexual assault scandal. (She later apologized.) And WNBA star Brittney Griner, who played for Mulkey at Baylor, has said a code of silence about players’ sexuality forced her to hide her queerness. As I wrote in 2022, Mulkey was virtually silent herself as Griner spent months in captivity in a Russian penal colony.

That history was placed in focus over the weekend when Mulkey tried to pre-empt what she said is a forthcoming story about her by The Washington Post. Despite trying to defang the report before it drops, she has only drawn more attention to it with her rant — and Trumpian vow to take legal action.

Mulkey appears pretty ignorant of how journalism works. She decries a journalist who she readily admits tried to interview her for two years — and then complains she wasn’t given enough time to respond to questions.

She criticizes the Post for telling former players that they can remain anonymous if they want to share criticism of Mulkey, even though this is standard practice in journalism.

And she claims the newspaper is “ignoring the 40-plus years of positive stories they have heard from people about me.” This is impossible to verify until the article is published, but it certainly sounds implausible that a Washington Post article on a figure as polarizing as Mulkey wouldn’t mention anything positive about her.

Now, we’re all playing the waiting game, anticipating an article apparently so damning that its subject saw fit to condemn it before it even dropped.

She also seems pretty gung-ho about potentially suing the Post. As someone who has faced legal threats from powerful people I’ve written about, I can offer this advice: If you’re looking to sue a journalist, you better make damn sure the things you’re alleging are actual lies rather than merely statements you don’t like. It may save you some embarrassment or disappointment.

Now, we’re all playing the waiting game, anticipating an article apparently so damning that its subject saw fit to condemn it before it even dropped.

I can’t think of a bigger misstep for Mulkey than the one she made over the weekend. You can tell from her remarks that she wants it to seem like she’s standing up for her team and her university. But this news conference simply seemed selfish, and her words had all the telltale signs of a powerful person fearful of being exposed.

I anxiously await the Post’s report. And I’m not alone.