Friday, March 23, 2007 | 03/23/2007 | Race still an issue for UK basketball 03/23/2007 Race still an issue for UK basketball: "'There will be many black people who will say they're glad to see Tubby get a decent offer from elsewhere,' he said. 'It looks like people outside of Kentucky had a greater appreciation for his ability.'
The Rev. Louis Coleman, head of the Louisville-based Justice Resource Center, said 'UK doesn't have the greatest practices in the world when it comes to true diversity.' Coleman said his group will meet with the UK administration following Smith's departure."

I am white. I am from Kentucky. I was fascinated by stories of the Northern Kentucky area being the gateway to freedom when I was very young. I was then, and am still, proud of that heritage of the area. I know the other side too. There are still rednecks in Kentucky. In fact, after getting out of Kentucky, I have found them to be nearly everywhere else too. Those rednecks, their feelings about black people, are not why there was pressure on Tubby. It really never was. Kentucky, for all of its failings, never thought of Tubby as a black coach. We thought of him as our Coach. Just like Pitino, Hall, and Rupp before him, Tubby became a part of our collective Kentucky family. Up until the tenth year, many of us wanted him to succeed. I didn't want to hear about letting him go. I wanted him to return our Cats to glory the way I thought he could. It didn't matter who he was. We just wanted the basketball team to win. Both of my grandfathers thought of this that way too, even though they were white and lived in a different, and somewhat disgusting racial era. In fact, my great uncle was asked by my grandmother what he thought of Tubby as the first black member of his tony Lexington country club. His response? "It's about damn time." You see, like my elder family members and thousands of other Kentuckians, we didn't care about our Coach's culture as long as he held the program to the level of success that we have long enjoyed. Unfortunately for Tubby, he could not. As my Mother said, "We love Tubby and Donna, and wish them well, but this is better for all involved". Let us all be smart about this and realize that color was never the issue. It is all about success.

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