Kentucky sheriff burns University of Kentucky shirt after team kneels for national anthem


The following article contains editorial content partially written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

LAUREL COUNTY, KY- The woke continue their virtue signaling.

The latest example was seen at a college basketball game over the weekend.

And that virtue signaling didn’t sit too well with a sheriff in Kentucky, who expressed his displeasure by burning a University of Kentucky shirt.

It started when the Kentucky men’s basketball team and coaches decided to kneel during the national anthem this past weekend, according to the Courier Journal.

In a video posted to Facebook, Laurel County Sheriff John Root took a shirt which commemorated a Final Four appearance by UK into a fire, saying that the Kentucky Wildcats “disrespected the American flag and our national anthem.” A jailer named Jamie Mosley also threw a shirt on the fire.

“This is what I think about the program, Coach, until you can get these guys under control and lead by example,” Root said.

In response to a text message responding to WKYT-3 on Sunday, Root said:

“We didn’t like the way our Ky team turned their back on the flag and the Anthem. We discussed this and we figured a way to turn all the negativity into a positive role with donating clothes to shelters and the needy.”

He continued, “We stand strong on our beliefs for our Veterans, flag and anthem.”

The kneel down was apparently in response to the peaceful demonstration turned violent at the US Capitol on January 6, which led directly or indirectly to five people being dead.

The UK players and their coaches locked arms and knelt prior to the game during the national anthem. It is not believed they made such a gesture to honor the scores of people killed as a result of the violent riots that were sparked by George Floyd’s death last May.

According to the Wildcats’ coach John Calipari, as well as guard Davion Mintz, they said the move “speaks for itself,” while Keion Brooks said the demonstration was in response to the events at the Capitol building, as well as “some other things that we don’t see that go on every day that are unacceptable.”

Pretty sure that’s a reference to so-called “systemic racism” which has yet to be proven actually exists.

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Calipari said he was approached by some of the veteran players on the team who told him some players wanted to kneel before the game, and after considering their concerns, he said he would join them in their pregame stunt.


“These kids are good kids,” Calipari said. “They care about this country and all the other stuff. They’re trying to figure out life and making statements they think they have to make. I want to listen to what they’re saying, and then I’ll support them if they want me to be there.”

Mintz said, “We meet as a team, we talk. That’s really special for us because everyone comes in, everyone shares their opinion. IT’s not like we just have one or two guys or just the coaches. We meet as a team, we talk, we share our stories, we relate to each other and we have guys who really listen. Then we make a decision from there, and our coaches just support us.”

Root, however was having none of it. He noted that he was “kind of disgusted and outraged” about “the disrespect that they showed last night to that flag…and the disrespect to our veterans.”

Meanwhile Mosley encouraged UK fans who were upset by what happened before Saturday’s game to bring shirts which they wanted to discard to the county jail on Monday, where they could exchange them for “Back the Blue” shirts.

“I can’t promise what size you’re going to get, because I expect they’re going to go fast,” Mosley said.

As of Monday, the clip disappeared from Root’s Facebook page, however was available through other social media accounts.

Root and Mosley were not the only ones to condemn the UK players’ stunt. Members of the Knox County Fiscal Court in southeastern Kentucky also denounced the team Monday, issuing a resolution asking Kentucky’s elected officials to “reallocate tax funding from unpatriotic recipients to hardworking Kentucky Taxpayer’s (sic) across the commonwealth.”

They also asked the state’s general assembly to remove tax dollars “from the University of Kentucky, and any other public university or institution that allows any action of disgrace to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, or the United States of America.”

One would think that UK, a once-proud program that is a lofty 1-6 so far this season might want to concentrate on basketball, but apparently being social justice warriors trumps the fact that they were given a four year education to play basketball, not virtue signal.

Olivier Sarr, a senior forward from Toulouse, France said the players are in a position to raise awareness.

“I’m in a position, we’re in a position to raise awareness, and that’s what we’re trying to do, but it’s not just talking. We also need actions behind it.”

As to whether the kneeling stunt would continue, Sarr said the team had not yet decided.

“We’ll see what we do for other games,” he said. Whether we do it once, twice, every time, our mind, our focus is on that gesture and towards these issues at all times.”

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