The Kentucky Football team is joining the movement against racial injustice.
Sources tell KSR that the team has collectively decided to walk out of today’s practice in support of the ongoing protests in sports following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Yesterday, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 of their series vs. the Orlando Magic, prompting the postponement of all NBA Playoff games through today. The WNBA and several MLB teams did the same, and many NFL teams have canceled practice today in solidarity.
Yesterday, UK associate head coach Vince Marrow weighed in on the matter on Twitter, commending head coach Mark Stoops on his handling of social issues.
I commend @UKCoachStoops the way he deals with our team being Africa America it’s good to know that having him as a Head Coach he will always support all our players on social issues. Go Big Blue.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) August 26, 2020
This will end. I don’t care what color you are you have to be disturbed on what you are seeing on t.v Shoot a man 7 times in front of his kids. Thats a sick person who has no fear of shooting Black people. It’s time to wake up America. We will not keep letting cops do this to us. https://t.co/efiDC9Xpom
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) August 27, 2020
In June, Stoops, Marrow, and Director of Player Development Courtney Love led the team in a march at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Lexington alongside Mayor Linda Gorton and other community leaders. Before the march began, Stoops addressed his players, urging them to seize the moment and stand up for justice.
“We’re here to fight racism, to bring awareness, and to do our part,” Stoops said. “I think most of you know me, I keep things pretty tight to the vest with the media, but there’s no more of that on this issue. Everybody needs to get off the bench and make a difference, stand for something. We’re not going to tolerate any more racism and social problems. We want to make a difference and be a part of the solution. That’s why we’re here.”
Mark Stoops speaks to the media in front of the court house pic.twitter.com/7Bc6xoA24p
— Zack Geoghegan (@ZGeogheganKSR) June 5, 2020
UK senior offensive tackle Landon Young also addressed the group and led protestors in prayer.
“This is a group, this is a bunch of ethnicities, a bunch of colors, all coming together as one,” Young said. “I don’t care who you are, what your skin color is, no matter what, we will stand up against this injustice. It was wrong, and now, we have to move forward. The road is long, the road will have obstacles, but we have a bunch of leaders that are here to make a stance. Hear their voice and make a difference. I want to thank Coach Stoops, thank all the coaches who helped put this together.”
UPDATE (4:39 PM): A Kentucky spokesman confirmed that the team decided not to practice and is currently meeting to discuss ways to promote their influence and be a part of effective change. Josh Paschal, Luke Fortner, and members of the team’s unity council will talk to reporters on Zoom this evening to discuss the conversation. Nick Roush will have a full report on the site shortly after.