LSU coach Kim Mulkey lashes out at Washington Post, threatens legal action

LSU head coach Kim Mulkey calls out from the bench during the first half of a first-round college basketball game against Rice in the women's NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

LSU head coach Kim Mulkey calls out from the bench during the first half of a first-round college basketball game against Rice in the women’s NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU coach Kim Mulkey lashed out at and threatened legal action against The Washington Post on Saturday, saying the paper has spent two years pursuing a “hit piece” about her and that it gave her a deadline to answer questions this past week while the defending national champion Tigers were preparing for the women’s NCAA Tournament.

“The lengths he has gone to try to put a hit piece together,” Mulkey said of award-winning Post reporter Kent Babb, whom she did not mention by name. “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 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,” Mulkey continued. “It was just an attempt to prevent me from commenting and an attempt to distract us from this tournament. It ain’t going to work, buddy.”

Babb confirmed to The Associated Press that he is working on a profile of Mulkey, but declined further comment. The Post also declined comment.

Babb has been working for The Washington Post for 14 years. Three times, his features have been named best in the nation by The Associated Press Sports Editors. Babb also has written two books: “Across the River: Life, Death, and Football in an American City,” and “Not A Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson.”

Mulkey is in her third season at LSU, which signed her to a 10-year, $36 million extension after she won her fourth national title as a coach last season. She also won three with Baylor, along with two as a player at Louisiana Tech and a gold medal as a player for Team USA at the 1984 Olympic Games.

Mulkey said she told Babb two years ago that she wouldn’t be interviewed by him because she “didn’t appreciate the hit job he wrote on Brian Kelly,” the current LSU and former Notre Dame football coach.

“I’m fed up, and I’m not going to let The Washington Post attack this university, this awesome team of young women I have, or me without a fight,” Mulkey added. “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.

“Not many people are in a position to hold these kinds of journalists accountable, but I am, and I’ll do it,” Mulkey said.

Mulkey accused Babb of trying to trick her former assistant coaches into speaking with him by giving them the false impression that Mulkey had acquiesced to being interviewed.

“When my former coaches spoke to him and found out that I wasn’t talking with the reporter, they were just distraught, and they felt completely misled,” Mulkey said.

Mulkey added that former players have told her that the Post “contacted them and offered to let them be anonymous in a story if they’ll say negative things about me.”

“The Washington Post has called former disgruntled players to get negative quotes to include in their story,” Mulkey said. “They’re ignoring the 40-plus years of positive stories.

“But you see, reporters who give a megaphone to a one-sided, embellished version of things aren’t trying to tell the truth. They’re trying to sell newspapers and feed the click machine,” Mukley continued. “This is exactly why people don’t trust journalists and the media anymore. It’s these kinds of sleazy tactics and hatchet jobs that people are just tired of.”

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness

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