By Mark Donovan

You would have thought LSU coach Kim Mulkey had lost Sunday instead of winning — the Lady Tigers beat Middle Tennessee State 83-56 to advance to the Sweet 16.

But March Madness has morphed into a political campaign.

And Kim Mulkey has turned into a sore winner!

Who is she sore at?

Evidently, the Washington Post and writer Kent Babb.

Mulkey thinks a story Babb is allegedly working on will make her and her program look bad.

It’s why she spent nearly three minutes reading a prepared statement in an effort to get out in front of whatever is being written. In the process, she also turned up the attention and anticipation of the story.

Mulkey: I wanted to publicly address what exactly this reporter for the Washington Post has been doing the past several years, and the lengths he has gone to try to 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 tournament with more than a dozen questions, demanding a response by Thursday right before we’re scheduled to tip off. Are you kidding me?

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

Babb, per Mulkey, has been working on this for a while, although that is not all he has worked on. In 2023, he published 13 stories, mostly about football and many of them positive in tone.

Mulkey said this will be a “hit piece” and she may be correct but it also remains to be seen. Also open for debate is whether two days is enough time to answer a dozen questions that Babb apparently communicated to LSU. Some would say that’s a generous amount of time. Others would point to Mulkey being busy trying to win a fifth national title.

Who knows what the questions entailed though.

Mulkey: 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. 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.

Mulkey: Former players have told me that The Washington Post has contacted them and offered to let them 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. They’re ignoring the 40-plus years of positive stories that people — or they have heard from people about me.

This is the most notable comment on what the subject of the story could be. Mulkey was an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech from 1985-2000 and then spent 21 years at Baylor before taking over LSU three years ago.

She is one of the most successful coaches of all time — four national titles — but also one who has never backed down from a battle. Like anyone with a lengthy career, there will no doubt be critics and fans.

Mulkey: But you see, reporters who give a megaphone to a one-sided, embellished version of things aren’t trying to tell the truth. 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.

Mulkey: I’m fed up, and I’m not going to let The Washington Post attack this university, this awesome team of young women I have, or me without a fight. 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.

Not many people are in a position to hold these kinds of journalists accountable, but I am, and I’ll do it. That’s all I’m going to say about this right now. And now I’m going to get back to talking about my basketball team and winning this game tomorrow.

The likelihood of the Post publishing a story that violates libel laws is pretty slim. This is a serious operation and generally speaking the Post would have to know the story is categorically false and they printed it anyway to purposely harm Mulkey. That probably isn’t the case.

Still, if Mulkey thinks the story is going to contain false and damaging information, she absolutely should cry foul and try everything she can to defend herself and her program, legally or otherwise.

In the meantime, her team is in another Sweet 16.

“We’re not going to let one sleazy reporter distract us from what we’re trying to do,” Mulkey said Sunday.

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