Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey said Sunday she felt "horrible" about how remarks she made after a game Saturday were taken to mean she was not supportive of sexual assault victims or the ongoing investigation at the school.
Mulkey spoke to espnW on Sunday afternoon and said she regretted the statement, "You knock them right in the face," in regard to how to respond to people who might say they would never send their daughter to Baylor.
"I hate that I used the remark about punching them in the face," Mulkey said. "That was not literal. I was trying to make a point, to be firm in what you are saying back at them. I'm not a violent person. I apologize for the very poor choice of words."
Baylor has been dealing with a sexual assault scandal that resulted in the firing of football coach Art Briles and the resignations of university president Ken Starr, athletic director Ian McCaw and Title IX coordinator Patty Crawford. There are lawsuits pending against the school, including one that alleges 52 rapes were committed by 31 members of the Baylor football team.
Mulkey said her postgame comments were made in response to remarks she has heard suggesting parents should not send their daughters to Baylor. She said that "cut straight into me," since her daughter, Makenzie Fuller, attended Baylor and now works for her with the women's basketball team. Mulkey said she also thought it negatively portrayed the women who are currently at the school, including her players.
"My point was, 'Please don't paint, with a broad brush, the women at Baylor,'" Mulkey said. "I didn't think about what I was going to say. I looked at my players, and the little girls and the women who are cheering for them. And I spoke with a lot of emotion."
As for her postgame news conference comments Saturday night -- in which Mulkey said she was "tired of hearing about it" and to "move on, find another story to write" -- she said they were meant to be addressed to a specific reporter who Mulkey said had been "digging and digging" at her.
Mulkey said she did not intend for the remarks to mean that the victims should "move on."
"Not only do I sympathize with victims, I am angry about the way victims were treated at this university," Mulkey said. "It is horrible, horrible anytime someone does not take care of a victim. Even one sexual assault is too many. Nobody is dismissing what happened here. I want us to get to the bottom of it."
Baylor commissioned a report from the law firm Pepper Hamilton to investigate the university's handling of sexual violence on campus. A summary of the report was released to the public in May, and it expressed serious concerns about a culture of victim-blaming at Baylor and the school's football program being prioritized over campus safety.
"I've watched things unfold since then," Mulkey said. "I can assure you I want the truth to be out there about what happened at this university."
As for her remarks to the crowd about Baylor being the "damn best school in America," Mulkey said she thought that was probably what all coaches would say about the school they worked for.
"I'm a woman, and I recruit women to come here," said Mulkey, who has been the head coach at Baylor since the 2000-01 season and has won two NCAA titles. "I will never, ever support anybody at this university that dismisses what happens to victims or who doesn't help victims.
"But I don't think that everybody at Baylor should be put under an umbrella as all being a part of the things that happened. I can't fathom anybody not helping someone who is a victim of that type of crime. I don't condone it. My words [Saturday] did not express exactly what I was trying to say."
After No. 2 Baylor's 103-64 rout of No. 19 Oklahoma Monday night, Mulkey deflected any further questions about her Saturday night rant. Asked if she felt it had become a distraction, Mulkey responded by saying, ``We played pretty good tonight. We played pretty good. I thought we were very focused.''