LSU basketball coach Kim Mulkey declines to comment on Brittney Griner
BATON ROUGE - LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey declined to comment on Brittney Griner's situation when asked about it Monday during a meeting with reporters.
Entering her second season as coach of the Tigers, who are holding their first preseason practice Monday, The Daily Advertiser asked Mulkey her thoughts on Griner, who is being held in a Russian prison on drug charges.
"And you won't," when asked to comment on Griner.
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Griner starred for Mulkey at Baylor from 2009-13 and the two won a national championship together to cap a remarkable and historic undefeated 40-0 season in 2011-12. Griner was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player that season.
It's been publicly known that Griner and Mulkey's relationship has been estranged since 2013 as Griner's time at the school was coming to a close. Griner, who is open about her sexuality, has said that it was not because of Mulkey but that she felt discouraged to disclose her sexual orientation while at Baylor.
Like numerous other WNBA stars, Griner has played overseas during the league’s offseason to make more money – leagues in several other countries pay their players more – and has played in the top Russian women’s league since 2014.
Griner, 31, was sentenced by a Russian court to nine years in prison Aug. 4, more than six months after initially being detained by Russian customs for carrying hashish oil cartridges into the country. Along with the sentence, the Russian court fined Griner $1 million rubles, or $16,301 in American dollars.
Back in February, Customs officers discovered less than a gram of hashish oil and later arrested her on drug charges, which carried up to a 10-year prison sentence. Griner pleaded guilty in July to the charges, saying she unintentionally put the oil in her luggage as she was in a hurry.
Hashish oil is derived from cannabis which Griner reportedly uses for medicinal purposes.
Since her detainment and subsequent arrest, trail and conviction many notable public figures and countless stars within sports, especially women’s basketball, have spoken out on Griner’s behalf. President Joe Biden reportedly made Russia an offer for Griner’s release back in July and has repeatedly called for her release.
“It’s unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates,” Biden said. “My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
WNBA stars like her Phoenix Mercury teammate Dianna Taurasi, Sue Bird and others around the league, as well as women’s college basketball coaches like Dawn Staley have been publicly vocal about Griner.
But Mulkey has not made any public comments on Griner's situation.
Griner has had some other legal issues in the past. In 2015, her and former wife Glory Johnson were arrested in Phoenix on charges of assault and disorderly conduct after the two got into a physical fight where they both sustained injuries.
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org.