LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — University of Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops admittedly keeps societal issues close to the vest, but not this one, and not this time.
“This is not an issue we can’t just put to the side and move on,” Stoops said on Friday night while leading his University of Kentucky football players on a Black Lives Matter rally through downtown Lexington.
“Everybody has got to get off the sideline and get into the game and be part of the solution,” he continued.
His players noticed.
“He’s really passionate about what he did on Friday night,” said Defensive End Josh Paschal. “That makes us appreciate him even more.”
Paschal hopped on a video chat on Tuesday with members of the media to discuss the march, and a return to football-related activities, which happened on Monday. Paschal, like the rest of us, isn’t sure what a college football season will look like this fall (if there is a season), but he is happy to be working towards something like that.
“With all that’s gone on in the last couple of months, I feel like we’ll all be blessed to have a football season. So I’m excited for that,” Paschal said when asked what a season without fans might look like if it comes to that.
Paschal spent the downtime working out in his hometown. He said wearing a mask during drills and having to go through health screenings during the day isn’t ideal.
But the real takeaway from today’s chat was less about COVID-19 measures and more about the inequality and injustice his fellow black men and women have had to endure. And about the football coach who is wearing this particular emotion on his white sleeve.
“He has our back, and we know that for a fact,” Paschal said. “He showed that to the whole country on Friday.”