Editor’s note: This column has been updated to include a comment from Kim Mulkey.
If you dance with the devil, you’ll get burned. If you play for Kim Mulkey, you’ll be discarded.
It’s almost been a week since we woke up to the news that Brittney Griner was free after the United States engaged in a prisoner exchange with Russia for arms dealer Viktor Bout. Since then, we’ve read and heard stories about how Griner bonded with the flight crew on her plane, wanting to talk for hours and basking in human interaction. Or, how in her first workout in months, the first move she did on a basketball court was a dunk.
But, do you know what we barely heard or read about?
Kim Mulkey’s “statement” on Griner.
“God is good. Prayers are powerful,” Mulkey told ESPN. “Brittney is on her way home where she belongs. Our prayers remain with her and her family as they recover and heal together.”
Those 29 words are all she could muster. That number rises to 32 when you remember that before that quote, the only thing we’d heard from Mulkey on Griner’s situation is her saying “and you won’t,” when she was asked why she hadn’t spoken up a few months ago.
Mulkey — Griner’s former coach at Baylor, who is now at LSU — has always been two things: a great coach and a terrible person. But, at some point, one of those things has to mean more than the other, and that time is now. After this season, every player on LSU’s women’s basketball team should enter the transfer portal — and every recruit should sever ties with Mulkey.
Sounds a little extreme?
Well, it should. Extreme measures are the only thing that Mulkey has left us to work with.
If 29 words are all you can spare for a player who helped you win a national championship after an undefeated 40-0 season, then nobody on your current and future teams has a chance of ever being more than just a name and number on a roster to you.
Sadly enough, Mulkey’s actions aren’t shocking given the way she’s historically shown herself to be. This is a woman who wanted the NCAA to do away with COVID-19 testing during the Final Four. She was also on the record for practically begging Trump to invite her team to the White House, and she stood by and publicly supported a Baylor athletic department that was involved in arguably the worst sexual assault scandal we’ve ever seen on a college campus. She also once allegedly told her players that they had to hide their sexuality. “It was a recruiting thing. The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Baylor,” Griner told ESPN in 2013.
Kim Mulkey doesn’t care about her players. She has proven to us that status doesn’t matter, either. You could be the best she’s ever coached or a walk-on at the end of the bench, it doesn’t matter to her. If you’re ever in need of support she’s the last person you should call.
Every player at LSU should be cleaning out their lockers. Because if your coach doesn’t give a damn about Brittney Griner, she definitely won’t give a damn about you.