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Kim Mulkey Being Correct?

Written by Tim Hoffstatter

Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Women’s basketball is the head of the most controversial team in all of college basketball and all of basketball right now period. Part of this is her personality and her coaching philosophy and style while other parts are because of players on her team being deemed as “dirty”. I want to state this upfront. I am not a big fan of Kim but there are a very few times when she is correct and this specific aspect is one of them. 

The Los Angeles Times put out an article about the local team University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) vs. LSU during their Sweet 16 matchup in March Madness. It is much like any local article where they are clearly favoring their home team however the language in this article is very derogatory and demeaning. The article originally called this a game of good vs. evil, calling LSU villains and topping it off with calling them “dirty debutantes”. A debutante is a term for when a young woman is of age to be married off by her family and to present this there is a grand ball that is thrown. This is already an inherently sexist term because this term and marriage were meant for families to gain power through marriage. Adding the word dirty to this word makes this an incredibly demeaning use of the term because now this means they are unwanted and dirty. Kim saw and actually did something very important and powerful, she stood behind her players and called out the Los Angeles Times for their sexist and derogatory behavior. Kim’s statement of outright defiance against the column caused the LA Times to rewrite the entire article but they never apologized for their actions. 

Reporters also asked Hailey Van Lith, Senior guard on the team, about this article and she backed up Kim and supported her teammates with her response. Adding onto Kim’s statement about sexism Hailey added this team has to deal with a lot of bigotry surrounding Black Women in this country. Hailey is aware of the privilege granted to her on the court because as a White Woman, she notes she is able to talk more trash and not be called derogatory names unlike her Black teammates, specifically Angel Reese. Angel Reese is all too familiar with the spotlight and the negative attitude toward her as she has been dealing with this since she started playing basketball and has had to deal with this publicly since she started playing college basketball specifically. Many players and coaches support her and her ability to talk trash yet the rhetoric is that she is a dirty and angry player at all times. Sadly it is hard to see when this dangerous rhetoric surrounding LSU and Angel Reese specifically will stop but the most important thing we can do right now to help support women in sports is continue to show up, watch, and support the women.