Kim Mulkey has repeatedly shown us where she stands on social issues. It’s her right to lean to the right. But when 83 percent of your team is comprised of women of color, it is your responsibility to account for how your employer’s decisions impact them.
According to the Louisiana Illuminator – an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization aiming to shed light on how decisions are made in Baton Rouge and their impact on the lives of everyday Louisianans – LSU has removed its diversity statement from the school’s website and renamed its Inclusion Office to „Drop“ Diversity Language from its website.
I hope you all haven’t thought Harvard was the only one.
„Engagement is defined in various ways. We use two forms of definition,“ wrote LSU President William Tate in an email to students. „For us, it represents a reciprocal process that enables changes on both sides. To fully deliver on the promise that our flagship offers, we must engage with one another to exchange views and experiences and to exchange potential solutions for our most urgent challenges. Secondly, engagement reflects a serious commitment. We must commit to finding ways to apply our discoveries and talents to serve and elevate the state and its population.“ The report also mentioned that a lecture series at the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs at LSU titled „Dismantling Racism“ that „some conservative lawmakers opposed“ was removed from the school’s website.
Whenever people start talking about „change“ or „both sides,“ they likely believe in diversity of thought over diversity of people. And when that happens, you end up in a room full of white people discussing / crafting diversity plans.
This is where Mulkey comes into play, and the „why“ is a two-part answer. First, she is one of the faces of the school Her contract stipulates that she only follows the head football coach in terms of compensation. And second, since she loves recruiting black players who have made her one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in college, it’s up to her to answer the questions of those black parents and players when the school does things like this – especially considering her public history on social issues.
„It was a recruitment thing. The coaches felt that if it looked like they tolerated it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Baylor,“ Brittney Griner said ESPN in 2013 about what Mulkey told players at the time that they didn’t publicly talk about their sexuality when they were at Baylor. We all saw how Mulkey was useless when Griner was detained in Russia as she did little and said even less.
And then there was the time when Mulkey advocated for violence to defend her employer, as Baylor was in the midst of one of the worst sexual assault scandals we’ve ever seen. „If somebody is around you and they say, ‚I would never send my daughter to Baylor,‘ then punch them right in the face,“ she said in 2017 as the school’s head football coach, president, athletic director, and Title IX coordinator had all been fired or resigned.
But even if you agree with Mulkey’s politics, defended her silence on Griner, or believe her 2017 comments weren’t „that bad,“ then 2019 was proof that one of the most famous women in sports doesn’t actually believe in supporting women in sports. „I understand their arguments without a doubt. But I am convinced that I want the best person for the job. I have a son, and it would be my honor to have my son train right alongside me,“ Mulkey said in rebuttal to former Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw’s passionate comments on gender equality and why she wouldn’t hire another male coach to her staff. At the time, ThinkProgress.com reported that the share of women-led college basketball programs had dropped from 79 percent in 1977 to 59 percent in 2018.
When coaches recruit players, they often make promises to parents that include protecting their children. And when LSU secretly undermines diversity language and efforts, Mulkey must be held accountable for it. You can’t have a black woman like Angel Reese as the face of your program and stay silent when the university does things that show it doesn’t care about the individual Angel Reese.