On Thursday, the Kentucky Wildcats’ football team decided to walk out of practice in protest of the social injustice that we are seeing in this country. Since that decision, the players and coaches have been getting a lot of criticism for taking what some consider a controversial stance.
Since protests began back in March, the players have shared many stories and it led to a march through Lexington back in the summer that was orchestrated by Stoops, Vince Marrow, and the rest of the Kentucky players.
On Friday, Mark Stoops went on Kentucky Sports Radio for an interview following Thursday’s decision and he opened up about former player Alex Montgomery, who has been like a second son to Stoops.
“Alex got hurt, got hurt again, was drifting away in school, was going to float away and I wouldn’t stand for it. I brought him in, I got close to him and I got to know him even more, I got to know him personally better and he was done playing. It would have been real easy for me to just turn over and go to the next guy,” Stoops said.
“He really had nowhere to go. He had no family. When he grew up, he woke up one morning and half his siblings were gone. His grandmother told him when he asked where his mother was, his grandmother told him, ‘Your mom didn’t want you.’ He has no one in this world. I’m his father and Chantel his mother.”
Before all of these protests stared going on, Stoops would be baffled by some of the stories Montgomery would share with him. For example, one night when Montgomery needed to go pick up his girlfriend’s car, Stoops suggested he walk to go get it, Alex responded:
“Are you crazy? You think I can walk through that neighborhood at 10 o’clock at night and get her car?’ This was way before any of this movement was going on. You start hearing that and you’re close to these kids and you realize the stories that they have, how can you not be affected by it? How can I relate to him if I don’t stand up with him right now?”
This is just a small example of the injustices Stoops has witnessed since he invited Montgomery into his family. Stoops then took his powerful interview a step further.
“To take it further, his girlfriend, her family disowned her, why? Because she’s dating a black man,” Stoops said. “These are my kids. I’m quite sure I’ll walk her down the aisle. I don’t put up with this fake stuff, putting things on Twitter just to get a pat on the back. That is so not me. I purposely don’t so stuff because I don’t want to be viewed that way. This is personal. These are my people. These are people that I’m close to, that I love that are like family to me. To not make difference, to not stand with them is wrong.”
I don’t think people understand how grateful I am that I came to UK.— MONT (@AMont17) August 28, 2020
This story is just one of the many reasons Stoops stands beside his players as they are doing their part to push for positive changes to be made in this country.
It is safe to say that we are truly lucky to have such an amazing leader being the head coach of this football team. He truly cares for his players, treats them, and stands up for them like they are his own kids.
You can listen to Stoops’ entire interview on Kentucky Sports Radio below.