Last weekend, 28 players nationwide participated in the “APU,” or “All Players United,” protest against the NCAA. Those players wrote the acronym on athletic tape displayed during games to bring awareness to players’ rights, an issue that has taken over college athletics this season after the Johnny Manziel autograph scandal and various player likeness lawsuits.
During today’s SEC Coaches’ Teleconference, Mark Stoops was asked if he would allow his players to join the campaign and wear “APU” on their equipment this Saturday. He said he’d be fine with it as long as it was a team decision:
We are going to talk about that. That was on my notes to talk about here before this game, and we will address it and we will talk about it as a team. Right now, I’m going to basically take the stance that I’m going to address it with our unity council, with our people and the leaders or our team, and if they’re all in favor of it 100 percent, then maybe we’ll do something. If not, then I prefer not to, not to let individual players express that. I’d rather do it as a team.
Stoops also addressed UK’s 26-game losing streak to the Gators, which he says he’s fine with the players using as extra motivation on Saturday as long as it doesn’t become a distraction:
I addressed it with the players, I did. I talked about it and, listen, our message has been to our team since I’ve been here: control what we can control. Control today, this upcoming day. We’re trying to get better one day at a time, really one play at a time. I think since we’ve really been concentrating on that as the season has progressed, I thought we’ve gotten better. So we’re really worried about ourselves, this team and this week. We really don’t worry too much about that streak, but like I told the team: If they want to use it as motivation, go right ahead, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we need to get better, control today and get better today. So that’s the approach that we’re using.