Kim Mulkey rips L.A. Times for ‘awful’ portrayal of LSU-UCLA


ALBANY, N.Y. — LSU coach Kim Mulkey ripped a Los Angeles Times column that portrayed her team’s matchup against UCLA as a “reckoning” between good versus evil, calling it “sexist,” “awful” and “wrong.”

During her postgame news conference following a 78-69 victory Saturday, Mulkey was asked about her team embracing an “us against the world mentality” and whether she has told her players to “enjoy having the black hat on.”

In response, she said she was sent Friday’s column in the Times that described her team as “dirty debutantes” and UCLA as “milk and cookies.” In addition, the column portrayed the matchup as “good versus evil. Right versus wrong. Inclusive versus divisive.”

“You can criticize coaches all you want,” Mulkey said. “That’s our business. You can come at us and say you’re the worst coach in America. I hate you, I hate everything about you. We expect that. It comes with the territory.

“But 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 that you should be offended by as women. It was so sexist. It was good versus evil in that game today. Evil? Called us dirty debutantes? Are you kidding me?

“I’m not going to let you talk about 18- to 21-year-old kids in that tone.”

The Los Angeles Times removed some of the language, including its reference to “dirty debutantes,” later Saturday, saying in a statement that “it did not meet Times editorial standards.” The newspaper has not responded to ESPN’s request for comment.

“I had someone say the L.A. Times updated, rewrote, did something,” Mulkey said Sunday. “That was the extent of it. So I’m not sure what the rewrite was. I’m not sure if it was an apology. I’m not sure of any of that. But personally no one has reached out to me, nor do I require that. I don’t need all that. I just like to recognize when I feel something was done inappropriately to young people that I get to coach.”

Earlier Saturday, a long-anticipated Washington Post profile on Mulkey was published, an article she described as a “hit piece” in a statement she made last week anticipating its publication. Mulkey has repeatedly said she is not afraid to speak out against what she sees as wrong.

She said that in her view, the Los Angeles Times story crossed a line.

“I’m not going to let sexism continue,” Mulkey said. “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. Because guys, that’s wrong. I know sexism when I see it and I read it. That was awful.”

After Mulkey made her comments, a screengrab that showed UCLA coach Cori Close had retweeted the Times column on her X account started to circulate on social media.

Close told ESPN she made a mistake in retweeting the story without reading it fully. In a statement posted to her X account, Close also apologized to Mulkey and the entire LSU women’s basketball program.

“I always want to be a person that is about growing our game and building up the people in it,” she wrote. “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. I do not condone racism, sexism or inflammatory comments aimed at individuals in our community.

“I only want to grow our game and have a positive impact on the people who come together because of basketball. I hope that I have proven over time with my behaviors and choices that this was an isolated mistake and not the intention of my heart.”

LSU players have repeatedly said they feel people are rooting for them to lose and don’t like them because they are unapologetically speaking their minds. Those comments were repeated during the players’ portion of the postgame news conference, before Mulkey had a chance to speak.

“We’re the good villains,” forward Angel Reese said. “Everybody wants to beat LSU. Everybody wants to be LSU. You’ve got to realize like we’re not any regular basketball team. We’re just changing the game.

“We’re doing the unknown. Me being able to be on the court but also off the court, I like to model and do other things. I can do both.

Flau’jae [Johnson] can do both. Aneesah [Morrow] can do both. We can all do both. That’s what people don’t believe in. They don’t think that we’re focused, and we prove every single night when we get between those lines, we’re focused.”


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