Several members of the Kentucky Athletics community are speaking out following George Floyd’s death in Minnesota and the resulting protests across the nation.
John Calipari said in a series of tweets the events that have transpired nationally throughout the past few days have made him “sick” because he “cannot believe one human being could treat another human being the way we’ve seen with some of these injustices,” and Coach Cal added he has addressed it with his team.
Other members of the UK community have released similar statements. University of Kentucky grad and current SportsCenter anchor Michael Eaves addressed the current state in a monologue Saturday evening, saying he almost didn’t come to work that day.
“I almost didn’t come to work [Saturday] because some of the reactions to the recent events reminded me that several people watching me right now who feel the color of my skin makes me less worthy of basic human rights and dignity, and the thought of providing those people with news and entertainment literally made me sick to my stomach,” Eaves said on the air.
He went on to introduce a story by ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, which explores how those in the world of sports are using their platforms to bring attention to issues of racism and police brutality, and how these figures could be the ones to lead the way for societal change. That video is available in its entirety here.
On Saturday, Mark Stoops said he is “deeply hurt” by the injustices we’ve seen in the United States, and he urged people to come together with unity and mutual respect. Several of his assistant coaches have also spoken out, including Vince Marrow.
“I’m very proud to see my white brothers and sisters along with Latino and Asian protesting but I pray we do it in peace,” Marrow tweeted. “God bless America and I pray justice prevails.
The Big Dawg wasn’t the only assistant coach to speak out on the matter.
“I am saddened and heart broken by the injustice and racial inequality that exists in our country. Jesus commanded us to ‘Love one another; as I have loved you’. He didn’t say love those who look like you do. Change is mandatory and needed immediately,” linebacker coach Jon Sumrall wrote on Twitter.
Defensive Coordinator Brad White tweeted a lengthy message of his own, adding “these words still feel insufficient, but it’s not about the words. It’s about getting off the bench and standing united for justice.”
Former Wildcat Karl-Anthony Towns backed Stephen Jackson in George Floyd press conference, and Enes Kanter said he would be attending Boston’s Black Lives Matter protest on Sunday. Kanter also posted the following message:
“We should NOT let our brothers and sisters fight this battle alone. Racism should make us sick to our stomach regardless the color of our skin. BE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY. #BlackLivesMatter”
— Jessica McGlory (@emceeglory) May 31, 2020
Enes Kanter chanted "I can't breathe" with protesters in Boston.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 1, 2020
Current Wildcats Keion Brooks Jr. and Dontaie Allen and future Wildcats Terrence Clarke and Isaiah Jackson also reacted to recent events on Twitter.
It breaks my heart to see the continual inhumane treatment of my beautiful people, but what gives me hope is knowing that we are strong, we are resilient, and we are powerful. Our voices will be heard and we’ll keep fighting for better days!!????
— Keion Brooks Jr. (@KeionB_12) May 31, 2020
“hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr. ? https://t.co/2dyoKXsa5H
— Dontaie A11en (@dontaieallen11) May 31, 2020
My people back home who are protesting, do so with pride! But NEVER lose sight of the cause. Be safe, be safe Boston, I love you all ??
— Terrence Clarke (@terrenceclarke_) May 31, 2020
— ?????? ???????? (@IJackson22) June 1, 2020
Skyy Clark, a five-star guard and a Kentucky basketball recruit for the class of 2022, participated in a peaceful protest in Nashville. He posted these images on his Instagram page:
Clark emphasized the protest he attended “definitely was peaceful,” and he was “long gone before anything even resembling a riot went on.”
He also wants to help rebuild the community. Clark tweeted about a cleanup project in downtown Nashville, saying “anyone and anything is helpful” and urging his followers to “bring trash bags and whatever else needed” for the city cleanup.
“All about love, peace and unity,” Clark wrote on Twitter. “Tearing down where we live is not the way.”
anyone and anything is helpful. thank you to anyone who would love to participate. LETS REBUILD!!! pic.twitter.com/lJj4BPAjCy
— Skyy Clark (@skyyclark) May 31, 2020
Floyd’s death along with other recent injustices, including Breonna Taylor’s death in Louisville, have sparked protests throughout the nation, including in parts of Kentucky. Louisville’s curfew remains in effect Sunday evening. The “dusk-to-dawn” curfew starts at 9 p.m. and lifts at 6:30 a.m. Monday morning.