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LSU’s Kim Mulkey Refuses to Address Brittney Griner’s Detainment

Sports Illustrated 9/26/2022 Madison Williams
© Provided by Sports Illustrated

The former Baylor coach has a complicated history with the Mercury star, who is currently imprisoned in Russia on drugsmuggling charges.

LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey was asked Monday about her former player, Brittney Griner, and the Mercury star’s ongoing detainment in Russia.

The coach, who worked at Baylor from 2000 to ’21, has a complicated history with the former Lady Bear. During Monday’s media availability, Mulkey was quick to answer a question from The Daily Advertiser’s Cory Diaz about Griner’s situation, with the reporter citing they had not seen a comment from Mulkey regarding her detainment.

“And you won’t,” Mulkey said while cutting off the reporter’s question.

The 60-year-old has yet to comment on her former player’s situation, and it sounds like she doesn’t plan to open up about Griner at all.

The WNBA star played at Baylor from 2009 to ’13, helping the team to a national title in ’12. That season, the team also went undefeated with a 40–0 record.

After Griner was selected No. 1 in the 2013 WNBA draft, the center told ESPN that Mulkey wanted the Lady Bears to not be open about their sexuality. Griner said the reason was for recruiting purposes.

“The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Baylor,” Griner said back in May 2013.

Griner came out as gay to Sports Illustrated in February 2013. She said she told Mulkey about her sexuality when she was being recruited, and the coach had said it wasn’t a problem.

The Mercury star was arrested at a Moscow airport in February and accused of having hashish oil in her luggage. She pleaded guilty to drug charges in July and was sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of smuggling drugs with criminal intent. Griner was also fined 1 million rubles, which is about $16,500.

Griner’s case is currently under an appeal made by her lawyers on Aug. 15. Additionally, the United States government and Russia are reportedly looking into a prisoner exchange, although there have been no recent updates on this possibility.

President Joe Biden, who noted early on that Griner was “wrongfully detained,” continues to work on setting the WNBA star free. The WNBA and NBA are also working on bringing Griner home.

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