Governor threatens scholarships after LSU women miss anthem at NCAA tournament

Louisiana’s Republican governor has called for the revocation of the scholarships of college athletes who do not attend the playing of the national anthem after the LSU women’s basketball team was absent from the court Monday night during pre-game ceremonies ahead of the highly anticipated NCAA tournament game with Iowa.

Jeff Landry, the former attorney general backed by Donald Trump whose victory in October’s open gubernatorial election signaled a far-right shift in Louisiana politics, took to social media Tuesday to blast the third-seeded Tigers and their head coach, Kim Mulkey, criticize. for not being present when the Star-Spangled Banner was played before their high-profile Elite Eight showdown in Albany.

“My mother coached high school women’s basketball during the height of desegregation. No one has more respect for the sport and Coach Mulkey,” Landry posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “But beyond respect for that game is a deeper respect for those who serve to protect us and unite us under one banner!

“It is time for all university administrations, including Regent, to implement a policy that student-athletes be present for the national anthem or risk their athletic scholarships! This is a matter of respect that all collegiate coaches must instill,” he wrote.

Louisiana State, the defending national champion, was defeated 94-87 on Monday by the top-seeded Hawkeyes, who advanced to the Final Four on a 41-point outburst from star guard Caitlin Clark.

Mulkey, who has won four national titles as a head coach and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020, said afterward that her players were undergoing their regular pre-game preparations Monday night when the national anthem was played.

“Honestly, I don’t even know when the national anthem was played,” Mulkey said during the post-game press conference. “We have a kind of routine where they lie on the floor and come off after twelve minutes. I don’t know, we come in and do our pre-game stuff. I’m sorry, listen, none of that was done intentionally.

Kim Mulkey said her team did not intentionally leave the stage prior to the playing of the U.S. national anthem.

“To be honest, I don’t even know when the national anthem was played. We have some kind of routine (of leaving the court at a certain time).”

— Dan Zaksheske (@RealDanZak) April 2, 2024

Of the four teams playing Monday in the split-site Elite Eight doubleheader at Albany’s MVP Arena and Portland’s Moda Center, the Tigers were one of three not on the floor for the anthem.

Landry’s broadside marked a head-spinning turn for Mulkey, who previously came under fire from the left for her perceived conservative views, including accusations that have resurfaced. in a recent Washington Post profile who claimed she excluded former players because of their sexuality, including Brittney Griner.

The episode has made waves on the right-wing corners of social media, which have done the same Branded Mulkey as ‘woke’ for her role in the seemingly unintentional episode.