LEXINGTON, Ky. — University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari joined a discussion on race during a webinar on Friday with the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
It included former Oregon and Washington State Coach, Ernie Kent, Houston's Kelvin Sampson and Ron Hunter of Tulane who are all African-American along with Frank Martin of South Carolina and Penn State's Pat Chambers.
Coach Calipari did a lot more listening to the other coaches and admitted that he's still trying to process everything but he can't sit silent on the issue. "People said I shouldn't talk. 'You don't understand, you don't get it.' That's why that statement, I understand I may never understand but I stand with you," said Calipari. "But here's the thing I felt. All these players that have carried me and my family, I think I need to speak. All these players who have put me and my family and my children in that position, I think I need to speak. There will be people made on both sides. They're mad I'm even saying anything. Have at it. I don't know what to say to you."
He also believes there can be a real change if everyone takes the elections seriously and votes on candidates that can help further the agenda for all people--especially black lives. "You can't have it top down telling us how to act," said Coach Cal. "It's got to be bubbled up from the bottom, it's got to come grass roots. How many of us on this call looked at somebody and they weren't real comfortable them? All of a sudden, they got in their company and they talked and they said I really like that guy."
Sampson said it's going to be guys like Coach Calipari or Pat Chambers that will have the biggest impact because when "white people start fighting against racism, it becomes important to you. When it becomes more important to you than it is to us... that's when I know we've got a chance."