Former ESPN reporter says Kim Mulkey tried to get her fired after a story accused the new LSU coach of telling a star player to hide her sexuality

kim mulkey brittney griner
After Kate Fagan reported that Kim Mulkey urged Brittney Griner to hide her sexuality at Baylor, Fagan said the Hall of Famer asked ESPN to fire her. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
  • ESPN's Kate Fagan wrote a 2013 profile of Baylor player-turned-WNBA superstar Brittney Griner.

  • In the story, Fagan reported that former Baylor coach Kim Mulkey urged Griner to hide her sexuality.

  • During a recent podcast, Fagan revealed that Mulkey tried to get her fired for writing the story.

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Brittney Griner was a bona fide superstar during her college days with the Baylor Lady Bears.

But her outspoken coach at the Waco, Texas, powerhouse - newly-minted LSU head coach Kim Mulkey - was not eager to celebrate every facet of her 6-foot-8 leading scorer's being.

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Kim Mulkey. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In a bombshell report published in 2013, then-ESPN writer Kate Fagan detailed how Mulkey urged Griner to hide her sexuality during her four-year career at Baylor. Now a writer for Dan Le Batard's Meadowlark Media, Fagan revealed in an interview on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz that Mulkey tried to get her fired from her job at ESPN for writing the story.

"I did a story in which Brittney Griner told me that when she was at Baylor that she was not allowed to be openly gay, and this wasn't a shocking story considering it is actually written in the handbook of Baylor University that you are not allowed to be openly gay at Baylor University," Fagan said on the podcast. "But after we put out that story, Kim Mulkey believed that I had forced Brittney Griner to say this, and she told the higher-ups at ESPN that I needed to be fired for this."

"She called the higher-ups and told them that I should be fired," she added.

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Kate Fagan. D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York

Le Batard, Stugotz, and Fagan had been discussing Mulkey within the context of her post-NCAA tournament loss press conference, in which the then-Baylor head coach insisted that the NCAA should halt its COVID-19 testing protocols because positive tests could ruin the Final Four.

Fagan then suggested that Mulkey's questionable comments and how she wielded her power some eight years ago may have something to do with her standing in and around Baylor's campus.

"I think there's a lack of perspective in Waco, Texas, in general," Fagan said. "There's a little bit of a bubble where Kim Mulkey believes she's a God-like figure in Waco, which she is a God-like figure in Waco. So I think what translates really well in Waco doesn't necessarily translate at the post-game press conference."

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Kim Mulkey. via ESPN

Make that Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

News broke in late April that Mulkey was departing Waco after 21 years and three national championships as Lady Bears head coach to take the helm for her hometown LSU Tigers. And she wasted no time testing whether Fagan's theory translated to "The Bayou State."

At the beginning of her introductory press conference, Mulkey flung her "damn mask" off her face, earning loud applause from the crowd on hand for the homecoming ceremony. But in other parts of the country - and on the internet - Mulkey was the subject of ridicule for bucking the advice of health professionals in such flamboyant fashion.

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Kim Mulkey. Peter Forest/Getty Images

Even still, Fagan doesn't question the Hall of Fame head coach's power.

"Kim Mulkey is my dark horse for person in sports that you never want to cross," Fagan said. "She might not even be the dark horse. She might just be the No. 1 person in sports that is terrifying."

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