LA Times apologizes to LSU and UCLA after its article was described by others…race and gender

GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 09: Head coach Kim Mulkey of the LSU Lady Tigers talks with Angel Reese #10 against the Ole Miss Rebels in the fourth quarter during the semifinals of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 09, 2024 in Greenville, South Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times apologized Monday for writing an article previewing the NCAA women’s basketball tournament matchup between UCLA and LSU that was described as racist and sexist by others.

“Words matter,” he wrote, in part. “As a journalist, no one should know this more than me.

Yet I have failed miserably in my choice of words. In my column previewing the LSU-UCLA women’s basketball game, I tried to be clever in my phrasing about one team’s attitude, using alliteration while not understanding the deeply offensive connotation or associations.

“I also used metaphors that were not appropriate. Our society has had to deal with so many layers of misogyny, racism and negativity that I can now see why the words I used were wrong.

It was not my intent to be hurtful, but I now understand that I terribly missed the mark.”

Pat Eaton-Robb of the Associated Press noted the article referred to LSU players as “villains” and “dirty debutantes” and described the Sweet 16 battle between the Bruins and Tigers as one between good and evil.

The Los Angeles Times ended up editing the column, and LSU head coach Kim Mulkey did not hold back when discussing it.

“How dare people attack kids like that?” she said Saturday, per Eaton-Robb. “You don’t have to like the way we play. You don’t have to like the way we trash talk. You don’t have to like any of that.

We’re good with that. But I can’t sit up here as a mother and a grandmother and a leader of young people and allow somebody to say that.”

She wasn’t the only one to comment.

“We do have a lot of Black women on this team, and unfortunately, that bias does exist still today, and a lot of the people that are making those comments are being racist towards my teammates,” LSU guard Hailey Van Lith, who is white, said, per Eaton-Robb.

“I’m in a unique situation where I see with myself, I’ll talk trash and I’ll get a different reaction than if Angel talks trash. I have a duty to my teammates to have their back. Some of the words that were used in that article were very sad and upsetting.”

Angel Reese told reporters, “We’re the good villains. Everybody wants to beat LSU. Everybody wants to be LSU. You’ve got to realize like we’re not any regular basketball team. We’re just changing the game.”

UCLA coach Cori Close ended up apologizing after she initially retweeted the column and said, in part, “I would never want to promote anything that tears down a group of people in our great game.”

The article previewed the Sweet 16 game, which LSU won 78-69.

Flau’jae Johnson led the way for the Tigers with a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Reese (16 points and 11 rebounds) and Aneesah Morrow (17 points and four rebounds) also impressed.

The win helped set up a rematch of last year’s national championship game rematch against Iowa in the Elite Eight.

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