LSU Athletic Director Says They’re “Looking At Their Processes” Amid Criticism Over Women’s Basketball Team Missing National Anthem

LSU Women's basketball

Rethinking their pregame routine?

Earlier this week, social media erupted when the LSU women’s basketball team left the court before the national anthem, ahead of the much-anticipated matchup with Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Of course it would be a strange protest for LSU coach Kim Mulkey’s team, after Mulkey has previously been criticized for her presumed-conservative leaning beliefs. (People on Twitter even derisively refer to her as “MAGA Mulkey,” although as far as I can find, she doesn’t really talk politics much).

And even if LSU was trying to make a statement, it wasn’t a new one: The team is never on the court for the national anthem, dating back to at least last season.

Mulkey also addressed the supposed “controversy” after the game, saying she doesn’t even know when the national anthem is played, and that missing it is simply part of their pregame routine:

“Honestly, I don’t even know when the anthem was played. We have a routine where we’re on the floor and they come off at the 12 minute mark. We come in and do our pregame stuff. I’m sorry, that’s nothing intentionally done.”

But despite Mulkey’s explanation, the governor of Louisiana wasn’t happy with his home state team missing the anthem.

Jeff Landry, who is in his first year as governor, addressed the controversy on Twitter, suggesting that student athletes lose their scholarship if they’re not present for the national anthem:

“My mother coached women’s high school basketball during the height of desegregation, no one has a greater respect for the sport and for Coach Mulkey. However, above respect for that game is a deeper respect for those that serve to protect us and unite us under one flag !

It is time that all college boards, including Regent, put a policy in place that student athletes be present for the national anthem or risk their athletic scholarship! This is a matter of respect that all collegiate coaches should instill.”

Well apparently his statement got the attention of LSU’s athletic director.

Scott Woodward and LSU’s athletics department released a statement today, announcing that they’re “looking at all their processes” in the wake of the controversy:

“We have reviewed Governor Landry’s letter on the national anthem. At LSU we have and will always be dedicated to the flag, the anthem and the country.

We consistently look at all our processes and will do so again. As Louisiana’s flagship university, LSU always strives to represent the higher ideals and values of our students, our state and our country.”

And Governor Landry responded to the statement by renewing his call on the NCAA to take action against athletes who miss the national anthem:

“Thank you Scott for your leadership as well as the entire LSU community. This has never been about Coach Mulkey, a stalwart of our time, great citizen of Louisiana and patriot!  Nor about our girl’s basketball team, who have beat the critics and rose to the challenges and brought great pride to our State!   

This is about traditions and consistencies, that without either, we remain consistently divided! Now it is time for the NCAA and NCAA President Charlie Baker to step up and show leadership. I look forward to seeing our country’s patriotism on full display this weekend during the Final Four tournament.”

Whether the NCAA actually does anything or not (and my money is strongly on NOT), I’d say it’s probably a fair assumption that LSU’s teams won’t be missing the anthem any time soon.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock