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Mitch Barnhart releases message on injustices, UK’s plan for improvement: “We have influence, and I have faith it is for a greater good.”

Following days of unrest throughout the country, University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart is speaking out via video message, which was posted Wednesday evening. In the video, he apologizes for the delay, saying he’s spent the past several days processing his thoughts and emotions before releasing an official statement. In the clip, he says he’s had conversations with his pastor, coworkers, family and UK student athletes, and he spent seven hours on Monday trying to put his thoughts into written words.

Barnhart’s days of tough conversations and hours of writing culminated in a six-minute video, posted now on the Kentucky Wildcats TV YouTube channel. In his message, Barnhart discusses the racial injustices felt by African Americans in this country, and how the university will use its guiding principles of character, integrity, education, stewardship and competition to make necessary improvements within the campus, throughout the BBN and beyond the fanbase.

The senseless tragedy in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery has brought pain, confusion, hurt, anger and many other emotions which are undeniable and understandable,” Barnhart says in the video. “It is through our principles we must find a different path as we navigate some really, really difficult waters.”

“Our family – student athletes, coaches, staff and fans – are hurting on many fronts. Empathy for those emotions and wounds is necessary for any healing and change to occur,” Barnhart continues. “I’ve been in college athletics for 38 years, and I believe in the unique power of sports to unite people. I also believe in the beautiful hearts and intentions and influence of people; I believe in the greater good of people. I refuse to accept betrayal of that greater good.”

Throughout the message, Barnhart also emphasizes the importance of choosing five-letter words – “peace, faith, grace and truth” – over certain four-letter ones, including “pain, hate and fear.”

“We aspire to choose peace over panic, [and] faith over fear,” Barnhart says. “The truth will offend us at times, and it should. But the truth, plus grace, equals love. And we have to live out a message of love to our neighbors to live in peace.”

Barnhart acknowledges the university is home to over 500 student athletes, which certainly comes with a unique set of challenges, but emphasizes change can happen one person at a time.

“We will work with our UK family to introduce them to each other and get to know each other one person at a time. To throw a pebble in the pond, and watch the ripple of influence as we go from a locker room to department, from department to campus, to a community, to the BBN and beyond our borders. We have influence, and I have faith it is for a greater good.”

Barnhart wrapped up his message with a push for unity and faith, using well-known words from Martin Luther King Jr. and verses from the Bible.

“I have faith in a loving God and the greater good of men and women to find empathy with each other’s journey and walk the staircase and the spirit of love together. In the end, as it was said, people won’t remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. We will walk the staircase together.”

You can watch Barnhart’s entire message below, as posted on the Kentucky Wildcats TV YouTube channel:

Barnhart’s statement follows the unified statement released by UK Athletics, which calls on the Big Blue Nation “to join us: listen, hear, empathize, act, support our black student-athletes, just as you do when they represent us in competition.”

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

63 Comments for Mitch Barnhart releases message on injustices, UK’s plan for improvement: “We have influence, and I have faith it is for a greater good.”

  1. Jambluehue99
    8:10 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

    So everyone has to release a statement on everything now I guess. Politics has permeated every aspect of life, and not for the good. Sports used to be a common bond, something that would bring people together. Now it has become just another way to inflict political views and demand conformity of thought. There’s no escape. Think you will turn in a game and watch and relax? Wrong! You will see political protests, get lectured on gun culture, and hear spoiled brats try to tear down the very system that made them millionaires. People need to wake up. If you think the US is oppressive, wait until you get what you are asking for. I promise it’s far worse, and it will leave you longing for the good old days.

    • T-Town Cat
      8:47 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      Well written, and courageous to post it on this site. I’m afraid our leaders are being turned into the “Useful Idiots” Lenin said would help lead to Communist domination.

    • 4everUKBlue
      10:51 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      Look how easy it was to get us to lockdown ourselves, now just imagine how this will be escalated this fall when plandemic II is unleashed on us. Yes people better start waking up before it’s too late.

    • TPACAT
      3:12 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      We’ll know in about a week if the “lockdown” was a hoax. Not a lot of “social distancing” going on while you’re looting stores and assaulting cops…

    • Cousins Fake Tooth
      2:58 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Bring in the military, get this over with.

    • 4everUKBlue
      6:56 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Be careful what you wish for fake tooth, the rioting and violence plays right into the agenda to bring on martial law and the riot inciters are here to pour gas on the fire and insure it escalates. TPA we’ll know when the next lockdown comes if this was a hoax….and there will be another lockdown, likely in the fall.

    • ukyelecteng
      10:05 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Mitch needs to stick to sports. The athletic director really doesn’t need to be releasing statements like this

  2. rockyou
    8:39 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

    Jamblue, very well said, the PC culture is taking over everything and before long, all of us will have to walk the same line, or be called a name that ends with ist !!

    • TPACAT
      3:15 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Yep. But, I’ll tell you one “ist” I’ll never be and that’s a globalist. America is Gods gift to mankind and we need deport those who don’t appreciate it…

    • A conservative white man
      6:32 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      TPA obviously isn’t a Christian. God never said make America great he said all mankind.

  3. bigblue98
    9:30 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

    As a leader of an entire department (including young men and women), it is his obligation and right to release a statement and video regarding the recent occurrences. Sports will bring people together – at least those who are willing to listen before they speak. That will lead to successes both on and off the field. The inability to listen and be a dictator – well we see how that’s going right now with the economy. The best leaders first and foremost realize they don’t have all the answers, so they surround themselves with talented and intelligent people.

    • Jambluehue99
      9:43 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    • bigblue98
      9:47 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      Prolonged viewing of Fox News will make people blind.

    • terwilliger
      10:16 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      He has a right, yes. But why exactly does he have an obligation? He isn’t the freaking Minneapolis chief of police. He’s the athletic director at Kentucky. Why can it not be assumed that Mitch Barnhart finds the death of George Floyd absolutely deplorable and disgusting? Why must he release a statement on it? Others who posted here are spot on… PC culture is ruining everything in this country and grooming younger generations to have no balls and no concept of what true freedom is and how it comes about and is maintained.

    • bigblue98
      10:57 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      I left out Kash as well. Go to his Twitter page and look. Guess he has “no balls”. Would love to see you tell these guys face to face they have no balls. See how that works out.

    • bigblue98
      11:26 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      I’m hearing crickets. Please let me know when you decide to tell Kash or Drake that they have “no balls”. Want to see what they say to you.

    • TPACAT
      3:18 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      What’s he going to do? Pummel is because we disagree with him? Sounds like antifa to me…

    • Bluehender
      9:53 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      I find your last statement to be an absolute fact bigblue98..

    • A conservative white man
      6:34 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      That’s response to calling someone a coward is to act like one, racist are so cute.

  4. bigblue98
    10:21 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

    There are some white offensive linemen on our team who range from 6’3 to 6’7 and weigh between 315 – 340 lbs that don’t share your same views based on their comments. I very seriously doubt they have “no balls” because they don’t agree with you. By all means, I’m sure they would be more than open to a face to face with you since they have “no balls”.

    • CrystalBall
      10:57 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      Then he could have said we don’t condone that type of action either. Point being both were wrong.

    • bigblue98
      11:00 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      The people he intended that for are already smart enough to know that. He doesn’t have to state an obvious fact that doesn’t require a change of mindset.

    • CrystalBall
      11:01 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      Last comment was reply to bigblue98. And l am in no way opposed to his comments. Which are
      appropriate and l applaud them.

    • TPACAT
      3:20 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      If they can’t have a civilized discussion without resorting to violence then they’re part of the problem. You sound like a real tough guy yourself…

    • A conservative white man
      6:42 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      You mean like showing up to a governor’s house with a rifle and fake hanging him. Where were you to moan and groan then? No where to be found because they were white.

  5. CrystalBall
    10:35 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

    Why no mention of the nation wide rioting, looting, and destruction of property? Is this acceptable?

    • bigblue98
      10:52 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

      He obviously doesn’t condone that as no one does. How does that even fit in with a narrative where he is trying to show support to his athletic department, and the young men and women in that department? They realize and recognize that already as they are intelligent. What I would suggest for all of you who are so opposed to his comments – 1. Don’t watch the video or click the link, and 2. If it really bothers you that bad, find another team to support. I’m sure the players don’t really care what you think.

    • Jambluehue99
      12:11 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Why is it when anyone challenges the politically correct premise, the response is simply to go away? I don’t think anyone has declared their support for the program is in question. Is simply offering a different viewpoint cause to be banished from the fan base? Dare we not think for ourselves and have an independent thought on a subject? My values are independent of any stance the University if KY takes on an issue. I bleed blue but I haven’t outsourced my thoughts and opinions to Mitch or anyone else.

    • bigblue98
      12:27 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Other people on here are mad that Mitch didn’t speak out against the looting. I said if they don’t like that then they have alternatives as opposed to getting their pantries in a wad.

    • CrystalBall
      1:25 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Very funny bigblue. I read all posted comments and did not read one solitary word about anyone
      being mad that Mitch didn’t speak out against the looting.

    • bigblue98
      1:42 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Someone must have hacked your account – you were butthurt about it in the comments you posted at 1035. Guess someone else posted that.

    • bigblue98
      1:45 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      By the way, my “Crystal Ball” tells me someone’s gonna be out on their @$$ come November.

    • LayTheOdds
      8:55 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      You’re crystal ball must be up your @$$ just like when Hillary had a 93% chance of winning. Please post a picture of your wimpy @$$ crying and cowering in the corner of your mommy’s basement on election night.

    • A conservative white man
      6:51 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      That was before everyone knew Trump was an idiot…wait nope knew that, couldn’t handle a crisis without deflecting and whining like a baby…..nope he did that on national TV, a racist…..nope knew that to, a liar…nope knew that as well, a sexual abuser who makes wierd comments about his daughter…actually probably what got him elected because it made weirdos feel normal, I’ve got nothing he’s getting reelected.

  6. bigblue98
    12:30 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    Also forgot to mention King Trump doesn’t allow his peasants to think for themselves. They will be banished from the kingdom forever.

  7. Cousins Fake Tooth
    3:00 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    U.S. population 340 million

    2019 FBI statistics?

    1004 fatal police encounters
    0.000003042% of U.S. population

    41 out of the 1004 fatalities were unarmed suspects

    9 out of the 41 unarmed suspects were black

    Total number of blacks killed by police 236
    0.0000059% of a population of 40 million

    Police made 10 million arrests and made millions more of citizen contacts and calls for service.

    There is not an epidemic of police killing American citizens and there is not an epidemic of police killing blacks in America.

    These numbers suggest that America’s cops are doing a damn good job and to say otherwise is a false narrative by those with an agenda.

    We are going to destroy America’s policing system for……WHAT ?

  8. bibs
    7:53 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    It’s important to realize the reality of this situation. The cops that killed this man are cold blooded murderers and deserve to go to jail for a long time. It’s also important to realize that those who are proclaiming that Mr. Floyd was an upstanding citizen and a “gentle giant” are wrong. He was a thug and a criminal. He had meth and fentanyl in his system when he died. He didn’t deserve to die that day, but he was an example of what plagues the African American and poor white communities. Drugs, lack of a stable family environment, and no desire to become educated to break the cycle etc. These factors are a far greater issue for people in these communities than any systemic racism. I grew up in a holler in Eastern Kentucky, poor as hell. I had nothing going for me and faced some of the same stereotypes that African Americans face. People made fun of my accent and suggested that I wasn’t smart enough to succeed because of where I was from. I joined the military during the first gulf war, used the GI Bill and worked 3rd shift while attending college. I don’t have much sympathy for the white trash that won’t work or work to educate their children. I also don’t have much sympathy for those in the inner city that gang bang and have a tremendous number of children without stable homes. This has little to do with race and more to do with the lack of personal responsibility on the behalf of Mr. Floyd, the murderous police officers and some segments of our society. The truth is that some in the black community are using this incident to their advantage to get more free stuff, many politicians are using it to get reelected and many whites are protesting/rioting to make themselves feel better or because they don’t have anything better to do than loot and steal. There is real racism from some whites, blacks, and others in this country, but it is not systemic. This whole situation is a charade. We are becoming tribalized, which is a trademark of a third world country, because of the media and politicians using incidents such as these to divide us. It’s a shame that Mr. Floyd died, but where’s the protest and rioting for the hundreds shot or killed in ghettos (specifically in Chicago) and for the poor whites that are being pumped full of prescription drugs in Appalachia? In this case Mitch is just trying to be politically correct.

    • TPACAT
      9:21 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Well said, bibs. And, thank you for your service…

    • Jambluehue99
      11:20 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Well said.

  9. BowdenQB4ever
    8:13 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    That’s cool, Mitch. If the AD wants to be another liberal arts department on campus that’s fine, I’ve got other stuff to spend my money on and I’ve seen a diminishing ROI on what I get from Kentucky. You’ve saddled us with horrific uniforms and our basketball team is flexing shoeboxes of cash (like they have no respect for the program) as they bide their time and wait to go play in Israel or Europe.

  10. Heavy C
    9:19 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    Those who reference “Faux News” as bias and slanted without mentioning “CNN or MSNBC” in the same light are more out of tune with reality than those they are trying to single out. You’re likely to get more Factual information off the Cartoon Network than ANY of these Propeganda(aka BULL$HIT)spreaders. And I totally agree with the early comments to this post. Its literally gotten to the point that you cant watch a sports show without this crap being the narrative. A black man was wrongfully murdered by a cop. A rogue cop. A bad apple. He will go to prison for a long time. This incident is the exception not the rule, yet its being made out to be The Rule. One case is one too many. But 99.9% of Police Officers do a IMPOSSIBLE JOB under IMPOSSIBLE CONDITIONS admirably. These are facts.

    • 4everUKBlue
      9:53 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

      All mainstream media are Propaganda(aka BULL$HIT) spreaders. What exactly is Propeganda?

    • A conservative white man
      6:56 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Tany viewpoint that doesn’t align with the rich guys who own Fox news.

    • A conservative white man
      7:02 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Or Bernie

  11. classof68
    9:46 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    At least Fox tries to be balanced. They have guests with opposing views. You will never see that on the other networks. Most of these protesters will change their tune when they get out into the real world and have to compete with one another. They will change their attitude when someone less qualified gets the job they deserve because of affirmative action and required quotas. The riots of 1968 were just as bad but by the mid ’70’s my generation had mostly forgotten about that year.

    • A conservative white man
      6:54 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      And they cut the quest of repeatedly if the start to give a sound answer. By the way the rest of them do bring on different views that just do the exact same thing.

    • A conservative white man
      7:03 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      What is up with my autocorrect today?

  12. ukyelecteng
    10:06 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    Why did you feel the need Mitch. Do us all a favor and stick to sports.

  13. Heavy C
    10:17 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    Here you go 4EverUKblue

    Maybe this will make it understandable for you.

    • A conservative white man
      6:52 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Sounds exactly like Fox.

    • A conservative white man
      7:01 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

      Actually it sounds like all of them. I just get annoyed by anyone who defends any tv or radio host like they’re bot biased and full of it. The problem is most of the time when I see people insult the left tv, they don’t really defend it they just point out so does the right, the right on the other hand will hands down argue with people of the honesty of opinion host which is the biggest bull of all. And yes I’m a conservative just an independent one meaning I figured out Republicans, Democrats and anyone who votes down party lines is full of it a long time ago.

  14. Jpcat15
    10:37 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    Bibs- you are 100% accurate

  15. ziplock
    11:03 am June 4, 2020 Permalink

    Antifa and BLM are both heavily funded by George Soros. The members are nothing but globalist bootlickers. Ukraine’s government was overthrown in 2014 largely by Soros and it looked a lot like this. In the end, Ukraine’s people were in just as bad shape or worse as previous but a bunch of corrupt politicians got rich.

  16. UKFanSC
    12:03 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

    Damned well said bibs

  17. classof68
    1:40 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

    A tip of the hat to Mr. Bibs.

  18. TPACAT
    3:01 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

    As the great Dana Loesch said yesterday; “These are starting to sound like hostage videos”…

  19. OldSchool606
    11:09 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

    Have you ever noticed how much Mitch resembled Eddie the custodian on Space Force (except even Eddie will not wear those darn checkerboards).

  20. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    5:36 am June 5, 2020 Permalink

    I’m not going to agree or disagree with him, I’m simply going to point out that those individuals saying he’s just being politically correct are only saying it at best because they don’t agree with him and at worst to attempt to delegitimize what he’s saying. You can not know what is in a person’s heart, so to say he doesn’t really feel this way is uncompassionate and to say he has no right to say or shouldn’t be saying it is unamerican. We all have the freedom to have our voices heard even if no one agrees with us and being a member of a school, sports team, or having some fame does not make anyone less human or less American. Also simply having a bigger platform than others doesn’t automatically make one wrong if they use it. If it does then none of us should be on here, Facebook, Twitter or any other site because these are all platforms and we are using them.