LOOK: Mark Stoops leads Kentucky Football team in Black Lives Matter protest
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LOOK: Mark Stoops leads Kentucky Football team in Black Lives Matter protest

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This afternoon, Mark Stoops made it clear that racism has no place at the University of Kentucky.

Stoops, Associate Head Coach Vince Marrow, and Director of Player Development Courtney Love led the Kentucky Football team’s 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.”

 

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Stoops said that when the Fayette County courthouse reopens, he wants his players to come back and register to vote so they can make their voices heard.

“We’re going to march to the courthouse as a symbolic sign and when it opens back up, our players can come back here and have a voice. They can register to vote and make a difference.”

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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.”

 

Love, who played at UK for two seasons before coming on staff as a graduate assistant and eventually taking over for Freddie Maggard as Director of Player Development, preached the importance of players using their voices to move the conversation forward.

“On behalf of the University of Kentucky, Coach Stoops, our team, it’s a blessing to be here. To be a part of this, it’s definitely sending chills down my spine right now, seeing everyone here, coming together, and rallying around one cause – that’s black lives.

“Those black lives matter, and we want to make sure that we come together as a town, as a community. We woke up in Kentucky, this is our home, we wear that across our chests proud. You guys [the team], you guys are the future, and you have a voice. That’s why we wanted to come here today. Guys, you do matter, you have a voice, period.”

I’m proud to be a member of the Big Blue Nation every day, but especially today.

Special thanks to Zack Geoghegan for capturing the scene for us.

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2021-12-02