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Thursday Quickies: Mitch Barnhart’s Message Edition

The University of Kentucky AD spoke about recent injustices and moving forward

Music City Bowl - Kentucky v Northwestern Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart aired a special message Wednesday evening, in which he spoke about the recent tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and unfortunately, many others. Barnhart also talked about the university and its role moving forward.

Barnhart said he has spent the last several days talking to his pastor, coworkers, family, UK student-athletes, and many others to process his emotions and thoughts before spending several hours writing down thoughts on Monday.

“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 said in the video. “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.”

Barnhart added that words such as pain, fear, and hate have been prevalent in society, but he hopes to change the narrative to words such as love, hope, kind, and give or peace, grace, and truth.

“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 said the university will be working with the campus community to get to know each other one person at a time, and “watch the ripple of influence” spread across departments, programs, and beyond.

In concluding his message, Barnhart offered a message of hope.

“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.”

If you haven’t already, I would recommend watching the video in its entirety, which can be found below.

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