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Gabbert

Myron Medcalf, senior college basketball writer

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Myron Medcalf, senior college basketball writer: I get the numbers. I get the legacy. I get the history attached to his time at Kentucky, one of the greatest programs in college basketball history. But I see him as a man who wielded his power and influence to ban black players from one of the country's most influential programs and extending the widespread discrimination among elite teams. I don't reward Rupp or his peers for subsequently embracing the idea of integrated teams because I don't believe they made those changes for anything but competitive reasons. Their morals hadn't changed. They just wanted to win.

Per late Sports Illustrated legend Frank Deford, Rupp went on a racist rant at halftime of the 1966 title game against Texas Western. "You've got to beat those coons," he reportedly told his team. I don't care about the times. I don't care about the era. I don't care that other coaches held the same views. Rupp's legacy is simple: He won a lot of games but none of that can be disconnected from his ideas and perspectives on race and how those factors impacted the way he assembled his teams. He's not a hero to me.

 

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