Knox Co. Court asks for reallocation of taxes from UK following MBB statement


Kentucky Wildcats forward Olivier Sarr (30) walks off the court with his teammates after missing a game winning shot during the University of Kentucky vs. Notre Dame basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Notre Dame won 64-63. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Braden Ramsey

Earlier today, the Knox County Fiscal Court formed a resolution calling for Kentucky’s political leaders to reallocate tax funds from the University of Kentucky. The move comes in response to Kentucky’s men’s basketball team kneeling for the national anthem prior to tipoff Saturday against the Florida Gators.

The Times-Tribune was first to report the resolution’s creation.

“We, the Knox County Fiscal Court as elected leaders of Knox County, KY do hereby call upon… the Elected Leaders of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to… take action to reallocate tax funding from unpatriotic recipients to hard working Kentucky [taxpayers] across this Commonwealth,” reads the resolution, signed by Knox County judge executive Mike Mitchell and clerk Amy Warren

The Times-Tribune reports that Mitchell told them the idea to bring the resolution forward was his, believing the actions of players and staff were disrespectful toward those who have served in the military.

“We’ve got names of people out here on this monument that’s given up their life for this county,” Mitchell said in reference to a veteran’s monument outside the county’s courthouse, according to the Times-Tribune. “[The university] receives millions and millions of hardworking Kentucky taxpayers’ money… they need to be held accountable for their actions if they can’t manage it no better than that.”

“We could use some of that money that I feel may not have been spent properly.”

The Times-Tribune reports that Mitchell and each of the county’s five district magistrates voted in support of the resolution during Monday’s poll-vote, and that Mitchell said other county leaders have reached out to express interest in signing in support of the resolution when they can.

The resolution will officially be voted on during the fiscal court’s next scheduled meeting, which is set for Jan. 27, according to the Times-Tribune. 

This is the latest in a number of actions across the state in response to the team kneeling. The Cats, along with Calipari and the team’s coaches, knelt for the national anthem before their game against Florida on Saturday, partly in response to the mobbing of the Capitol building earlier in the week.

The statement has ricocheted across media, with fans threatening to stop watching or supporting the team.

Laurel County Sheriff, John Root, and Jailer, Jamie Mosley, burned their UK shirts in a Facebook video on Sunday afternoon and are now exchanging free shirts supporting police for Kentucky gear, while Clarkson Police Chief Buck Meredith referred to head coach John Calipari as “The Comy” in a Facebook post.

The Cats knew their decision would potentially cause frustration from a portion of Big Blue Nation, but felt strongly enough about their motives to bring on whatever criticism ensues in addition to the words they were already hearing during their historically poor start.

“We understood that our gesture would have consequences… we know some people would be mad or pissed,” Olivier Sarr said during a press conference on Jan. 11. “We just want people to understand that it’s a peaceful way to protest and the way we can, using our platform… we just want people to understand to raise awareness and that’s it.”

“This is a great country,” Isaiah Jackson told reporters. “But we feel like… minorities and stuff, don’t have equal rights as everybody else, so that’s what we’re protesting. That’s why we kneeled. That’s what a peaceful protest is.”

This is not the first time the team has faced uproar over their social justice decisions. Over the summer, the team was criticized for posts about registering to vote, and again when Keion Brooks said he supported a name change for Rupp Arena.