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Coach Kim Mulkey apologizes for comments connected to Baylor sexual assault scandal

Kim Mulkey coaches the Baylor women's basketball team against Oklahoma on Jan. 29.
(LM Otero / Associated Press)

Baylor women’s basketball Coach Kim Mulkey offered an emotional apology Thursday for saying those who wouldn’t send their daughters to the university because of its sexual assault scandal should be knocked “right in the face.”

Pausing at length more than once, Mulkey appeared to be holding back tears as she commented for the first time on camera about the controversy she started five days earlier.

“I’m sorry for the choice of words,” Mulkey said. “The timing wasn’t good. Poor analogy maybe, as well. For those of you who know me, I’m an emotional person. I coach with emotion. I played with emotion, and it was an emotional moment. I guess you’d say it got the best of me because I really do love this place.“

Mulkey made her original remarks Saturday just after posting her 500th career victory. First, she told the Ferrell Center crowd: “If somebody [is] around and they ever say to you, ‘I will never send my daughter to Baylor,’ you knock them right in the face.”

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Then during her post-game news conference, Mulkey said: “The problems we have at Baylor are no different than the problems at any other school in America. Period. Move on. Find another story to write.”

The next day Mulkey said in interviews that she regretted her choice of words. She told ESPN that she didn’t mean that sexual assault victims should “move on” and added that she felt “horrible” about how her remarks were being interpreted. She avoided answering questions about the controversy Monday night following a win over Oklahoma.

At least 17 women have reported being raped by 19 Baylor football players since 2011, according to university officials. Lawsuits against the school allege more than 50 sexual assaults at the school over a four-year period.

“Awful things happened here,” Mulkey said Thursday. “We failed victims here, but I’m encouraged every day because I see what’s taken place to fix it. And, I just think we’ve responded the way we can aggressively, financially. We’ve admitted our mistakes. My heart goes out to victims. How can I not? I’m a woman. I have a daughter. I’m responsible for how many in that locker room.

“In fact, I’m angry that we’ve failed those women. But I’m also encouraged because I see that we’re trying to do better.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

charles.schilken@latimes.com

Twitter: @chewkiii


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