A pair of Kentucky basketball players have been suspended after comments made on video in the aftermath of a victory were deemed racially insensitive.
As reported by the Glasgow Daily Times and Kentucky CBS affiliate WKYT, Corbin basketball player Andrew Taylor was filmed saying, “Sometimes you just gotta put the monkey back in its cage.” following his team’s Friday night victory against Knox Central.
While Corbin has denied that his comments had any racial motivation whatsoever, the implication was inescapable because of the racial makeup of Knox County; the school and basketball team feature a number of African American students.
Taylor and teammate Cam Maguet both sat out a game on Saturday hours after the video rapidly went viral, and just before Taylor offered up the following apology for his actions on Facebook (per the Daily Times):
First of all I want to sincerely apologize to each and every person that took offense to the video that surfaced last night. Recently, a video has been circulating of me in a false light and has been taken grossly out of context. With the timing of the video and the context in which my words might have been taken, I can understand why one might see the video as controversial considering the world we live in today. For that reason, I am sincerely sorry from the bottom of my heart. I apologize, especially to the Knox Central players and parents who might have taken offense as well as to their fan base. Our rivalry with Knox Central brings out the strongest emotions from players, fans, and parents. However, my intentions never have been and never will be to speak disrespectfully of another race nor is disrespect or judgement in my heart. Again, I am truly, truly sorry and did not mean for my statement to be taken that direction.
While the apology may have been genuine, so was the disappointment on the part of Knox County officials:
“There is no place in sports or society for racial or other derogatory remarks,” Knox County Public Schools Public Information Director Frank Shelton told the Daily Times. “Our athletes are strong young men and women, physically and mentally, who are learning to respond well to adversity. They have been very mature about the situation. Credit goes out to their parents, to their teachers, and to the coaching staff.
“There is no place in sports or society where someone should have to ‘brush off’ or ‘turn the cheek’ to racial or other derogatory remarks. Our Knox County athletic programs are built around the principle that we are growing leaders and this, unfortunately, is a real life lesson on how to deal with a situation that should have never occurred.”