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Women's Basketball

Kim Mulkey Has Nothing To Say About Brittney Griner

Screenshot: LSU Sports

LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey can be awfully loud when she wants to be. We’ve heard it—when she’s berating officials, or complaining about masks, or negging reporters at press conferences. But she can also be conspicuously quiet. Today, at the team’s media day, Cory Diaz, who covers LSU women’s basketball for the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, asked Mulkey for her thoughts on Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia for more than seven months.

Griner, Mulkey’s most famous former player, headlined the Baylor team that went 40-0 and won Mulkey her second NCAA championship as head coach in 2012. “I just wanted to get your thoughts on Brittney Griner’s situation,” Diaz began. “I don’t think I’ve seen anything from you on that, and—”

Mulkey interrupted, “And you won’t.” She answered his first question about roster-building instead.

The Griner-Mulkey relationship is a strange one, and by all indications—Mulkey’s refusal to offer any sympathy today among them—not a very warm one. Mulkey left Baylor for LSU after the 2020-21 season, but even when she was still coaching at Baylor, she rarely discussed the star player. Griner told ESPN the Magazine‘s Kate Fagan in 2013 that she felt pressured to hide her homosexuality in school to adhere to Mulkey’s “code of silence.” (Fagan recently said that Mulkey had tried to get her fired from ESPN for writing the story.) “No matter how much support I felt as a basketball player at Baylor, it still doesn’t erase all the pain I felt there,” Griner wrote in her 2014 memoir. Mulkey’s resentment may be why Baylor has yet to retire Griner’s jersey; she is the program’s all-time scoring leader.

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