‘Sleazy tactics’: Women’s collegiate basketball coach threatens to sue WaPo over rumored ‘hit piece’

The Washington Post might soon find itself in the middle of a lawsuit.

LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey says she’ll sue the paper if it proceeds with plans to publish what she claims is a “hit piece” about her.

The brewing controversy began after Sports Illustrated college sports reporter Pat Forde posted on X about a “buzz” he’s heard about “a big Washington Post story in the works on LSU women’s hoops coach Kim Mulkey, potentially next week.”

“Wagons being circled, etc.,” he added.

On Saturday, Mulkey led her NCAA Saturday press conference with a statement blasting an unnamed WaPo reporter and threatening legal action if the story is published.

“I wouldn’t normally discuss media rumors about me, but I felt the need to publicly address what exactly this reporter for the Washington Post has been doing the past several years,” she said. “And the lengths he has gone to try and put a hit piece together. This reporter has been working on a story about me for two years. 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 [NCAA] tournament, with more than a dozen questions, demanding a response by Thursday right before we’re scheduled to tip off. Are you kidding me?”

Mulkey continued:

This was a ridiculous deadline that LSU and I could not possibly meet, and the reporter knew it. It’s just an attempt to prevent me from commenting and an attempt to distract us from this tournament.

It ain’t gonna work, buddy.

Unfortunately, this is part of a pattern that goes back years. I told this reporter two years ago that I didn’t appreciate the hit job he wrote on [LSU football coach] Brian Kelly, and that’s why I wasn’t going to do an interview with him. After that, the reporter called two former college coaches of mine and left multiple messages that he was with me in Baton Rouge to get them to call him back — trying to trick these coaches into believing that I was working with the Washington Post on a story.

“Neither Mulkey nor Forde revealed the name of the reporter, but Washington Post sports features writer Kent Babb wrote a lengthy article about Kelly in 2022 for the outlet,” the New York Post reports. “Babb later confirmed to The Associated Press that he is working on a profile of Mulkey, but declined further comment.”

“Babb has been working for The Washington Post for 14 years,” according to the New York Post. “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.'”

Following Mulkey’s press conference, Babb jumped on X and, along with providing a link to the 2022 article, asked “Hit piece?”

On Saturday, Mulkey slammed journalists for their “sleazy tactics” and the “hatchet jobs” they write.

“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,” she said. “Former players have told me that the Washington Post has contacted them and offered them to 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.”

“But you see reporters who give a megaphone to a one-sided embellished version of things aren’t trying to tell the truth,” she continued. “They’re trying to sell newspapers and feed the click machine. 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.

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

Melissa Fine


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