Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey made a tearful public apology Thursday, five days after complaining about the negative coverage and the tarnish in reputation that have followed the sexual assault scandal involving the school and its football program.
Mulkey sat silent with tears in her eyes for a long time, as she talked about her comments on camera for the first time since telling Baylor fans that if people tell them they will never send their daughters to the school, they should "knock them right in the face.''
"I'm sorry for the choice of words," Mulkey said. "The timing wasn't good. Poor analogy maybe, as well. But 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.
"Awful things happened here. We failed victims here. But I'm encouraged every day because I see what's taking place to fix it."
Mulkey came in for a barrage of criticism after her rant defending her school. She expressed regret Sunday in an interview with ESPN's Mechelle Voepel for using violence in her statement, saying she didn't mean to appear insensitive to the women involved in the cases.
Mulkey told Voepel she did not intend for the remarks to mean that the victims should "move on" and said that she felt "horrible" about how her remarks were taken in light of the fact several incidents involving Baylor athletes were violent in nature.
The next night, a visibly drained, uncomfortable Mulkey chose to avoid publicly answering questions about the situation after the No. 2 Bears' 103-64 win over No. 19 Oklahoma, constantly referencing Voepel's article in which she apologized. When asked if she felt the situation was a distraction, she simply replied: "We played pretty good tonight. We played pretty good. I thought we were very focused.''
Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale was among those who spoke out against Mulkey's comments. She told The Oklahoman she was "disappointed'' in Mulkey and that women have a responsibility to fight for each other.
During Thursday's news conference, Mulkey tearfully addressed how she felt about the attention her statements got and went on to express her concern for Baylor's victims of sexual assault.
"My heart goes out to the victims," she said. "How could it 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 failed those women. ... One crime against anyone is too many.
"I've had a wonderful experience with a daughter at this university," she added. "Parents that send me their daughters can tell you the same. I'll be all right."
Baylor is facing several federal lawsuits from women who say the school mishandled or ignored sexual and physical assault claims for years.