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We Should All Be On Our Knees

Kentucky’s team and coaches took a knee during the national anthem Saturday in Gainesville. (UK Athletics Photo)

I know we try to stay away from political issues on our Just the Cats platform, but it would be irresponsible to ignore the events of this past week–especially when our own basketball team chooses to speak out as they did.

I have nothing against the manner in which the team responded. It was simply their acknowledgment of the hard times going on in our country. Peaceful protest is guaranteed by the Constitution.

Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen to do it during the anthem, but as someone who served my country in the armed forces, I’m not taking it as an egregious personal affront.

I’ll choose to view it as a sign of unity and the need for prayer. We should all be on our knees.

UK players, staff take a knee during anthem prior to win over Gatorsstory by Keith Taylor

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — The Kentucky men’s basketball team took a knee during the national anthem prior to the Wildcats’ 76-58 win over Florida on Saturday in Gainesville.

Kentucky coach John Calipari didn’t become aware of the team’s plans until the Wildcats were on their way to the arena.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of conversations,” Calipari said. “I heard that they wanted to do it when we were on our way to the arena and so I called the three leaders in and said, ‘Talk to me.’ And they said, ‘We want to kneel.’ I said, ‘Tell me why.’ And they said, ‘This is why.’ I said, ‘Ok.’ They said, ‘Will you kneel with us?’ And I said, ‘Do you want me to?’ They said, ‘Yes. We do.’ And I said, ‘Ok. I’ll kneel with you.’”

The incidents at the U.S. Capitol earlier this week and pockets of civil unrest during the past few months prompted the players to kneel during the anthem. Calipari and the coaching staff followed.

“A lot of people see what’s going on right now, and it kind of speaks for itself,” Kentucky senior Davion Mintz said. “That was just our statement of what’s going on in America at this time.”

Kentucky sophomore Keion Brooks, one of the team’s returnees, stood in unity with Mintz and the rest of the team’s leaders, including Olivier Sarr.

“We decided this was something that we wanted to do to take a stand against what we’re seeing in the world today,” Brooks said. “We brought it to coach (Calipari) and coach was with us. It was great to have the head man in charge to back you in everything you do”

Calipari supported the team’s decision.

“I think again, it’s something that speaks for itself (and) these kids are good kids,” hesaid. “They care about this country and all of the other stuff. They’re trying to figure out life and making statements that they think they have to make. I want to listen to what they’re saying and then I’ll support them if they want me to be there. If they said that we’re good by ourselves, I probably wouldn’t have been out there.”

Mintz said he’s not sure if the team will kneel during the anthem in the future.

“That’s just something we’ll have to keep discussing as a team,” he said. “As a team, we talk and that’s really special for us. Everyone comes in and shares their opinion. … we have guys on the team that really listen and we make a decision from there and our coaches support us.”

Gametracker: Alabama at Kentucky, 9 p.m., Tuesday. TV/Radio: ESPN, UK Radio Network.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at or twitter @keithtaylor21.

Dr. John Huang
Dr. John Huang is a retired orthodontist and military veteran. As a lifelong Wildcat fan, a fledgling author, and an occasional guest host of Just the Cats Radio, he's now living out his dream as a UK Sports columnist. Dr. Huang also covers professional sports on a regional level. You can follow him on Twitter @KYHuangs or contact him If you enjoy his writing, you can also read more at

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5 thoughts on “We Should All Be On Our Knees

  1. Wrong place, wrong time. There are other ways to express your support/disgust than during the National Anthem. That is taken as an insult by many people (myself included) to the flag, the anthem, and the great veterans of the United States. Do it somewhere else or in another way.

  2. There is NO place in sports for politics – period. Coach Cal can make a political statement if he chooses to walk down Main Street in a “peaceful protest.” However, when he is representing the University, he should keep his politics to himself. This was a slap in the face of all veterans and actually all Americans who support the flag and the country. Because his Democratic agenda is in vogue and not subject to cancellation by the woke media, Calipari can disrespect the flag and get by with it. However, to do the same thing while at Rupp Arena with 20,000 fans would be a different story. Cal would feel the wrath of the fans – most of the fans who respect the flag.
    Cal’s time at Kentucky is about over. His losing record and “one-and-done” philosophy is so over! People are tired of his style…its over.
    The President and A.D. need to move past Cal when the season is over. Time to show him the door!

  3. I agree it is a time of social unrest. Probably the greatest I’ve seen in my life, but in a time when every action is either vilified or praised depending your political affiliation is that the time for a group of young men representing the states flagship institution and it followers to make a stand on all of our behalf on national television? This falls squarely on the coach who in my opinion does not care about the people he represents namely the University of Kentucky and its followers. He only cares about a select group of 5 star athletes that he can get to the NBA. To be honest I can’t even keep track of their names anymore because their not here long enough to know any of them.
    So yes yesterday I was offended by their actions. You can agree or disagree with that and I won’t try to make some scholarly defense of that position, but it’s just how I felt. I watch “my team” to be relieved of what else is going on. Not to have a position I disagree with shoved in my face. I think offensiveness is based on the feelings of the offended not those of the offender.

  4. A very poor decision on Cals part first, and the college president after. We should expect the young black players to not understand the importance of keeping the flag, and those who died for it, out of any statements good or bad. It is never the time or the place to use the anthem for any protest and if you do you clearly care more for the freedoms you have rather than those who lost thier lives to give those freedoms to you. The media wants minorities to show their oppression, which don’t exist, and keep the fire burning. These kids are some of the most privileged in the world and will make millions from a game paid for mostly by whites. Millions of whites are in much worse shape, in every way, and a big majority of the KY fans. They have never seen a real day of racism or hate crimes and to act so in the name of skin color only aids the problem which wouldn’t exist if they stopped drinking the koolaid. I hope they lose every single game, miss the NIT, get investigated, and completely crushed by the NCAA for pandering to a false narrative and media biased agenda. We make you relevant, players, coach, and college, and if you choose to speak choose not to speak out of line. The flag is never a platform, learn it or get gone from it, because you are the problem, not the solution. There is a very large portion of our state which supported you, which have nothing nor the opportunity you have to get it. We just enjoy the game and you ruined it for us.

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