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Coach John Calipari, Kentucky Basketball Team Kneel for National Anthem for First Time

John Calipari coaching the Kentucky Wildcats

The entire Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team, as well as coach John Calipari, took a knee during the national anthem on Saturday before their 76-58 win against Florida.

In previous home games this season, the Wildcats had stayed in the locker room while the anthem played in Rupp Arena, according to The Athletic's Kyle Tucker.

Calipari had previously said Kentucky would decide how to carry out any protests as a team, and that either all would participate or nobody would. The Wildcats stuck to that line of thought in their first public protest.

The protest comes on the heels of the attack of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday by a mob of President Trump supporters who were contesting the legitimacy of president-elect's Joe Biden's win in the presidential election.  

Along with the entire Wildcats roster and staff, Gators guard Scottie Lewis also took a knee during the national anthem. Lewis, a sophomore, has been actively protesting racial inequality and is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Lewis previously led a peaceful protest in June after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

After the 76-58 win, Calipari told reporters that on the way to the arena he heard that his players wanted to kneel for the anthem. He gathered three leaders of the team and asked them why they wanted to kneel and they responded that they care about their country and are trying to express their feelings. They proceeded to ask Calipari to kneel with them. 

Kentucky guard Keion Brooks Jr. also touched on the protest and said the team's reasoning went beyond just Wednesday's attack on the Capitol. 

"It's a lot of stuff that goes on every day that we knelt for," Brooks Jr. told reporters. "The Capitol, that stuff had a part to play in it, but there are some other things we don't see that go on every day that are unacceptable, that we want to take a stand against." 

Kentucky (5-6) will host Alabama (9-3) Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST in its next matchup.