Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey often wears her emotions on her sleeve, and she let them show on Thursday.
Mulkey drew criticism for comments that she made following Baylor’s Big 12-clinching win over Texas Tech last Saturday, where she said, “If somebody around you ever says, ‘I will never send my daughters to Baylor, ‘You knock them right in the face.’” She also encouraged the media to “move on” from its reporting of the sexual assault scandal and the subsequent fallout at Baylor.
A day later, Mulkey apologized for a “poor choice of words” in an interview with ESPNW’s Mechelle Voepel.
Asked again on Thursday about the comments and the criticism she has received since, Mulkey broke down. Following a 35-second pause to collect herself, she said, through teary eyes, “ I’m sorry for the choice of words. The timing wasn’t good. Poor analogy, maybe, as well. Those of you who know me know I’m an emotional person. I coach with emotion. I played with emotion. And it was an emotional moment. I guess you’d say it got the best of me because I really do love this place.”
Mulkey went on to address Baylor’s issues with handling of sexual assault cases.
“You know, awful things happened here, guys,”she said. “We failed victims here. But I’m encouraged every day because I see what is taking place to fix it. And I just think we’ve responded the way we can, aggressively, financially. We’ve admitted our mistakes. My heart goes out to victims. How could it not? I’m a woman. I have a daughter. I’m responsible for how many in that locker room. In fact, I’m angry that we failed those women. But I’m also encouraged because I also see that we’re trying to do better.”
An outside investigation by the law firm Pepper Hamilton from September 2015 to May 2016 found institutional failures in the way Baylor handled sexual assault cases. The fallout led to the firing of President Ken Starr and head football coach Art Briles and the resignation of athletic director Ian McCaw.
One lawsuit filed by a Baylor graduate in January alleges that 31 Baylor football players committed 52 rapes over a four-year period.
“Y’all have heard me say this numerous times. One crime against anybody is too many, in my world,” Mulkey said. “And it should be in the entire world. But I’ve had a wonderful experience as a mother as a child of this university. A daughter. And the parents that send me their daughters, those kids and those parents can tell you the same. So to answer your question, I’ll be all right.”