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Mark Stoops had to “get off the sidelines” and join protest with his players

Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow were part of Friday’s protest. (UK Athletics Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON — Mark Stoops couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer.

The Kentucky coach and members of his team, along with Courtney Love, a former player and director of player development at Kentucky, marched in a protest against racial injustice and police violence Friday in downtown Lexington.

“Generally speaking for seven years, I have played things pretty tight to the vest on issues, but not on this issue,” Stoops said. “Everybody has to get off the sidelines and get into the game and be part of the solution. That’s just a fact and that’s the way it is.”

Stoops was moved by killing of George Floyd by Minnesota Police and wanted to make a statement against racial inequality.

“Black lives matter and they matter to me — a great deal,” Stoops said. “I just can’t tell you how affected I was by it and our players wanted to speak out and do something and I wanted to as well and so we put this together and I really appreciate our elected officials for helping me put this together and having it be such a success.”

Stoops hopes protests in Lexington and across the nation will help make a difference and lead to change at the local, state and national level.

“This will help our players heal some and help others with some of the injustice that they have had and I hope it heals a portion, a fraction … we just want to do our part and be a part of the solution and we’ll do the best we can. This is an issue that we all can’t just put (to the side) and move on. We have to continue to talk about this issue and continue to make a difference and I want to do my part and our players know that. They know how I care about them.”

Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said UK athletics “must do our part to establish equality so we can make progress toward unity.”

“Our student-athletes inspire, they inspire (and) they lead,” Barnhart said in a tweet. “Even in the midst of a time of great pain, especially for our black student-athletes, they are doing it again, faced with yet more reminders of the presence of racism and bigotry in this country after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others, they are speaking out and they will not do it alone.

“We call on Big Blue Nation to join us — listen, hear, empathize, act (and) support our black athletes just as you do when they represent us in competition.”

Members of the University of Texas football team marched with police officers from the school campus in Austin to the state Capitol on Thursday to honor Floyd.

Texas coach Tom Herman said he was “proud” of his team and wants his players to be “agents of change.”

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Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at or twitter @keithtaylor21.


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  1. Well here goes folks. All lives matter Coach, especially our police officers who protect us all, and play it straight every day. Some of them are black too Coach, and have been murdered for just doing their job in the last few years at record levels. It was a sad day to see the horrible death of Mr. Floyd turn into looting, violence, and the burning of personal property all for better race relations. Really? People blocking roads and bridges and disobeying curfews! Peaceful protest is one thing, but what has happened around the country is a travesty Coach. I’m for law and order, but sadly there have been murders of innocent people due to these protests turning violent. Did you and the team ponder that thought? Who speaks for the innocent police officers and citizens hurt and killed Coach? ANTIFA is a serious problem, and that bunch of thugs has taken over these protests as outside instigators, and rather than peace, we have chaos now in America. That group is trying to take down this nation we love, or should love. Sadly many don’t tonight. I pray they don’t show up in Lexington during your protest Coach. What you all are doing is only prolonging the chaos IMO Coach. These left wing outside groups, and left wing politicians in democrat run cities, are strumming some of you people like a 5 string banjo. Obama and Biden had eight years to fix this problem if one indeed exists. National statistics don’t back that up though. If this keeps up there will be no peace. The movement of “Black Lives Matter” pits black against white and has since it’s inception. We are all Americans not black or white, and we need to unite behind law and order, get off the streets, and get around to working on loving one another is my suggestion, and respecting the U S flag would help too. Try and find real solutions rather than marching in cities day after day. Good jobs would really help Coach, for both blacks and whites. Most of us don’t have million dollar contracts and live in multi million dollar mansions Coach. We need to work to feed our families daily. Time to get off the streets and back to work is my suggestion in order to crank up this economy for all. I don’t know what news outlets some of you people watch, but the main stream media outlets are outright liars, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, etc. The liberal dems want to “defund the police departments.” and some cities are moving forward on doing just that. It is being reported on real news outlets tonight. Are you and your players for that Coach? Just wait and see what happens when the liberals do that. It will be open season on us all. Do as you want Coach, but as a long time UK football fan, I am sort of disappointed in these ongoing protests you have time for now. Time to get the U S economy back up and running so we can have some football and stadiums packed come Sept. Also, what happened to all the social distancing the Covid 19 experts pushed down our throats a couple months ago. Where is Dr, Fauci? Seems nobody is worried about that anymore right? Yet your team don’t even know if they are going to play football in September. These damn masks are hot has hell, and making many rich selling boxes and boxes of them. Well anyway, these much needed protests must be completely safe from spreading that deadly virus, right Coach? Go Cats!!!

  2. PUP, I agree with you. I still don’t understand why, when we say ” All Lives Matter” is racist. Black, white, orange, yellow lives matter to me. Democrat liberals are the reason for all this. This protesting has to stop, and not let it feed to more violence. The death of Mr. Floyd was a terrible act by a few bad cops, but to promote him as a martyr is just not true. He had been in and out of prison, and high on drugs when he was arrested and died. Also, what happened to social distancing from Covid 19? It is all a front led by people that stirred this all up for an underlying cause in an election year!!!

  3. Thanks GeneT.

  4. Just heard on the news that the democrat D. C. Mayor just kicked the National Guard out of their hotel, and that fire fighters on scene putting out fires were attacked in some places. What is that all about? It is un American and a national disgrace is what it is! These people are their to protect and save lives and property. They are there not because they want to be, but are duty bound. They are not racists. Anarchy and poor leadership has turned political is what this is about. There is some good news however, jobs numbers are up this morning thanks to a strong economy that was in place prior to the pandemic. Thank God for the our National Guard troops and our fire fighters. Yeah, and some of them are black faces and some are white faces working to keep all of us safe. One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all. Justice for Floyd is already underway, now when is the justice going to be served for the retired black police officer killed by looters in Saint Louis?

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