Knox County Fiscal Court denounces UK basketball, asks for reallocation of taxpayer funds

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:14 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:10 PM EST
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Update: Jan 12, 2021 6:15 p.m.

Kentucky basketball’s decision to kneel during the National Anthem before Saturday’s matchup with Florida was met with mixed reactions across the Commonwealth and leaders in Knox County felt inclined to issue a resolution on Monday calling for a reallocation of tax dollars away from the program.

“In no way is this directed at the whole University of Kentucky,” Knox County Judge-Executive Mike Mitchell said. “It’s an outstanding educational facility.”

Mitchell said that kneeling is no way to honor those who have fought for our freedom.

“It’s shameful and disrespectful,” Mitchell said. “I think that it all lies within leadership. That these young men might not be getting mentored right.”

In the end, Mitchell said that it is not the University itself that he has a problem with.

“I think that there is a problem with the basketball program up there and that’s where the issue lays,” Mitchell said.

After WYMT reached out to officials with the University of Kentucky today, University President Eli Capilouto and Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart issued this joint statement:

“A value we all hold dear in our country is the right of free speech and self-expression. That right for young students such as these is important, too, as they learn, grow, and find out who they are and what they believe. We won’t always agree on every issue. However, we hope to agree about the right of self-expression, which is so fundamental to who we are as an institution of higher learning. We live in a polarized and deeply divided county. Our hope -- and that of our players and coaches -- is to find ways to bridge divides and unify.”

Original Story: Jan 11, 2021

KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - In a resolution passed Monday, the Knox County Fiscal Court made a call to action denouncing the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team and coaching staff for refusing to stand during the national anthem before their road game at the University of Florida on Saturday.

Resolution #20210111 puts the Fiscal Court in support of reallocating taxpayer dollars from the University of Kentucky back to local county governments.

The resolution calls on Gov. Andy Beshear, Senate President Robert Stivers, and House Speaker David Osbourne, along with the rest of the General Assembly to take action to “reallocate tax funding from unpatriotic recipients to hard working Kentucky Taxpayer’s [sic] across this commonwealth.”

The resolution is the latest reaction to the players’ protest after the Sheriff and Jailer of Laurel County posted a video on Sunday evening of them burning some of their UK apparel as well as offering free t-shirts for people wanting to turn in their UK gear.

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