We won’t call for Kim Mulkey’s job.
But we will call for a significant censure of the latest tone-deaf motormouth staggering blithely through the Waco quagmire.
The Baylor women’s basketball coach — of all people! — took the public address microphone following Saturday’s game and said, among other things, “If somebody’s around you and they ever say, ‘I will never send my daughter to Baylor,’ you knock them right in the face….”
To thunderous applause, of course, from the home crowd.
Mulkey, who’s built a virtual empire of sorts at Baylor through toughness, sass and even intimidation on her way to two national championships, apparently wasn’t given immediate mic-retrieval services, so she literally dropped the mic and walked away, smiling a bully’s smile, supremely confident after recording her 500th career coaching victory.
Then, in the postgame press conference, she offered up additional commentary.
“I’m just tired of hearing it,” she said. “I’m tired of people talking on it on a national scale that don’t know what they’re talking about. If they didn’t sit in those meetings and they weren’t a part of the investigation, you’re repeating things that you’ve heard. It’s over. It’s done, and this is a great institution, and I would send my daughter here, and I’d pay for anybody else’s daughter to come here. I work here every day. I’m in the know, and I’m tired of hearing it. This is a great institution. The problems we have at Baylor are no different than the problems at any other school in America, period. Move on. Find another story to write.”
Mulkey wants everyone to move on, apparently forgetting that federal Title IX investigators are coming to Waco this week.
Mulkey’s brazenness is one thing. It’s gotten her far in life. Lots of wins in there, you know. Lots of money, too.
But how can a woman — a woman who coaches young women, a woman who draws her paycheck from a university that is being sued for 52 rapes by Art Briles’ football players during a four-year period — pretend that Baylor’s problems are “no different than any other school in America?”
That is a willfully ignorant and hurtful and patently offensive statement, and it should draw an immediate and public reprimand from her employer who, um, say they are now wholly dedicated to changing the culture at Baylor.
Want to really change the culture, Baylor regents? Want to really affect positive change, new Baylor president David Garland?
Then slap Mulkey with a one- or two-game suspension and a very sternly worded condemnation, telling America how embarrassed you are not just by her words, but by her attitude, and how you expect so much more from the people who are tasked with guiding your young athletes, and how she’ll soon be taking some of those same sensitivity training sessions alongside the football team.
Mulkey tried to backtrack on Sunday, of course.
She told ESPNW that she regrets her remarks — that is, she didn’t literally mean to suggest that Baylor fans should punch anyone in the face, for goodness sakes, because “I’m not a violent person,” after all, she says — and then elucidated that her real point was to please not paint Baylor with a broad brush.
Too late, Kim. Baylor’s brush couldn’t be any broader, thanks to people like Briles and you and so many others.
Pretty sure 52 rapes and assaults by football players have not been alleged in a federal lawsuit against every other school in America. Pretty sure regents at every other school in America haven’t indicted their own university for 19 sexual or domestic assaults perpetrated by 17 football players. Pretty sure the head football coach, athletic director and president have not been fired from every other school in America.
Fact is, the only school who can lay claim to the historically heinous achievements at Baylor is Penn State and, well, Kim, you might want to Google that one because, you know, you weren’t there and you didn’t sit in on those meetings and all.
And by the way, why didn’t Mulkey come out strongly against Briles’ firing or Ken Starr’s removal or Ian McCaw’s resignation? Why didn’t she defend Baylor when all this was coming down? Why wait until now? Because she’s “tired of hearing it?”
Or is it because the Briles fallout has begun to settle somewhat and she merely sensed an opportunity to incite applause from a few thousand women’s basketball fans and make herself seem tough all over again?
Her words were worthless and hollow.
But the Baylor administration has a real opportunity here, an opportunity to call its mouthy basketball coach on the carpet for the mess she made and hold her accountable for it.
Because after everything the school has been through, if the leaders at Baylor University are not held accountable, then what does any of it matter?
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard every weekday on The Franchise in Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. with co-host Lauren Rew. In Oklahoma City, catch him Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:25 and every Friday afternoon at 4:05. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page.