Scooter Hobbs column: Mulkey ready to Post up on offense

Published 12:55 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The LSU women’s basketball team will play UCLA come noon Saturday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

A win there would likely send LSU to a rematch of last year’s women’s national championship victory over Iowa and Caitlin Clark.

But that doesn’t seem terribly important at the moment.

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The real showdown, the one LSU and maybe the women’s basketball world is waiting on with wide eyes and bated breath, is hidden in the nether reaches of your NCAA bracket.

Kim Mulkey vs. The Washington Post.

Tip off is TBA. Vegas, oddly, has yet to set a betting line on it.

But we know the battle royale is coming at some point because Mulkey alerted the world in a Saturday news conference that the newspaper planned to print a “hit piece” on her at some point. If it does, she said, she plans to sue.

How she knows that an as-of-yet unpublished story by a writer she refused to meet with or be interviewed by is going to be a “hit piece” is anybody’s guess.

But it’s true that The Washington Post doesn’t often spend two years on a story and emerge with a fawning fluff piece.

The newspaper confirmed to The Associated Press that award-winning journalist Kent Babb had indeed been working on a profile of the LSU coach.

But Kim Mulkey is going to be Kim Mulkey. We know that by now.

She’s fiery, combative and headstrong; she’s going to say and do what she pleases and mostly she doesn’t really care what you or me or anybody else thinks about it.

She’s been that way, often delightfully so, since she was beating the boys in Little League baseball in Hammond, which makes her reaction to this all the more puzzling, except that she’s also used to getting her way.

She boiled over last week when on the Tuesday before her team opened NCAA play on Friday, she said “a sleazy reporter” sent the school a list of questions he requested answers by Thursday.

“That was a ridiculous deadline that LSU and I could not possibly meet, and the reporter knew it,” Mulkey said, calling it “an attempt to distract us from this tournament.

“It ain’t going to work, buddy.”

She also accused the reporter of telling her former assistant coaches and players that she was cooperating on the story in an attempt to get them to talk with him.

“They were distraught and they felt completely misled,” Mulkey said.

Her reluctance to work with the reporter, she said, was because she “didn’t appreciate the hit job he wrote on Brian Kelly.”


The supposed “hit piece” that Babb did on Kelly a little more than two years ago baiscially accused the Tigers’ football coach of nothing more incriminating than making a whole lot of money in a state beset by poverty.

There are worse crimes — and plenty of other examples in college football — so Kelly came through it fairly unscathed, at full salary.

Still, it’s one thing to “get ahead” of a story. It’s quite another to open the door and invite it in.

Mulkey is drawing the line in the sand and basically daring The Washington Post to print something.

She has also assured that, whatever finds newsprint, will get 100 times the attention it might normally have. It will be must-read not only in Louisiana, but the most anticipated women’s basketball story of the year.

Of course, she’s also threatening legal action.

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

Good luck with that.

Never mind that what she decidedly is, is a public figure and would have to prove gross negligence and knowledge of falsehood, among other things.

Plus, The Washington Post has its own battery of lawyers and you can bet they’ll dissect every paragraph of that story, word by word, before it hits newsstands.

Maybe she better get in touch with Kramer — of “Seinfeld” fame, not her son the former Tigers baseball player — and get Jackie Chiles on Line 1.

A more prudent course might have been to do what most coaches do when something negative comes to light.

You let it come out and then tell the little white lie that “I don’t read the newspapers” and let it go at that.

Of course, Kim Mulkey isn’t most coaches.

So stay tuned.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at