Matthew Mitchell was back in his spot as KSR’s guest host Monday morning, as is tradition each summer, but this time circumstances were a little different.
Yes, Coach Mitchell wanted to host the show to tease Ryan Lemond and play Kelly Clarkson and brag on his UK women’s basketball program, but he couldn’t do that without addressing the current landscape of our country with ongoing protests nationwide.
So he put the fun aside for a few minutes and he opened the show with his thoughts on race relations in the United States and his own life experiences as someone who is surrounded by people of color on a daily basis. Mitchell noted all three of his assistant coaches and all but two of the fifteen current players on his current roster are African-American or people of color.
“These are family members to me,” Mitchell said. “Those are important, important people to me.”
It’s through them and others that Mitchell listened and learned to try to find what he should do and just how bad things are in the real world. He admitted his initial reaction as a white male was to be defensive, to say these are isolated incidents because he didn’t want to believe it to be true as a whole. But when he reached out to his players and coaches in a Zoom call last week, he quickly learned it wouldn’t be a normal conversation as he began hearing their concerns.
“It was an incredibly impactful call for me,” Mitchell said, admitting he realized things are much worse beyond what he sees on a daily basis. He shared three examples from people he has spoken to in recent weeks; three situations of pain he would never know as a white man, but now recognizes they exist for others.
“I’m trying to take a posture of humility” Mitchell said, “listen, not lecture, and have as many of those interactions as I can so I can hear what is going on.”
“Right now I’m trying to view this not as a political situation, but a moral situation and I want to come down on the side of the right thing. And the right thing is for us to really look at racism in this country in a deep way and not dismiss it. That’s what I want to encourage everybody that can hear my voice today: to really take a hard look at that.”
Listen to Coach Mitchell’s full comments to start the show below:
You can listen to the entire show here.