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LSU women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey declined to comment on Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia during a press conference on Monday, sparking backlash from former Baylor players. Meanwhile, current Baylor head coach Nicki Collen spoke at length about the situation, calling it a “human rights issue.”
Mulkey, who was Griner’s head coach at Baylor when the two had a falling out back in 2013, was asked by a reporter about her thoughts about the WNBA star’s situation, adding that he had not seen any comments from her regarding the matter.
Mulkey interrupted the question, saying: “And you won’t.”
BRITTNEY GRINER SITUATION DETERS WNBA PLAYERS FROM RUSSIA, CITING SAFETY
The incident prompted two former players to speak out against Mulkey’s remark.
Former Baylor center and 2022 WNBA Draft first round pick, Queen Egbo, took to Twitter to seemingly warn recruits about the head coach.
WNBA guard Chloe Jackson, who played at Baylor from 2018-2019, also tweeted about Mulkey’s “silence.”
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Current Baylor head coach Nicki Collen was also asked about the situation and, despite never coaching Griner personally, she spoke about her impact on women’s basketball and looked at her situation through a more personal lens.
“I think BG, first of all, is human first. I think this is a human rights issue. No one’s saying she didn’t make a mistake. None of us are perfect. But I guess I would wanna know if I did something and was stuck in a foreign country, and what it was, what it wasn’t. I think we all know that 10 years is a long time. I see her as a mother, as a sister, as a spouse, as a daughter, as an unbelievable ambassador for the game of basketball.”
She continued: “I just think about what it would be like to be away from my family for over 200 days. That’s to me first and foremost. I think this is a humanitarian thing … We should be doing everything in our power to get Brittney home.”
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Mulkey’s comment was brought up in a question to Collen, but she was not asked to comment on it, to which she replied, “Thank you.”
According to ESPN, Griner and Mulkey had a falling out in 2013 when she claimed that players on the team were told not to openly speak about their sexuality.
Collen added that she spoke to Griner after she took the coaching job at Baylor in 2021 about getting her back on campus and having her jersey retired.
“She made Baylor a household name,” she said.