The Debate About Kentucky’s Rupp Arena Will Be Very Heated

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The faculty of University of Kentucky’s African American & Africana Studies has written an open letter to school president Eli Capilouto asking, amongst other things, for the basketball arena to be re-named after someone other than Adolph Rupp, who has a complicated legacy with regards to race and integration.

“The Adolph Rupp name has come to stand for racism and exclusion in UK athletics and alienates Black students, fans, and attendees,” reads a portion of the letter. “The rebuilding of the arena and the convention center offer an opportunity to change the name to a far more inclusive one, such as Wildcat Arena. In addition, the University should survey all campus buildings and remove all names of enslavers, Confederate sympathizers (such as William C.P. Breckinridge), and other white supremacists.”

It was a matter of when and not if this debate was going to come to the forefront. Equally inevitable is that it will be very emotional, divisive, and at times ugly and nasty.

Matt Jones, the founder of Kentucky Sports Radio, believes it will ultimately come down to John Calipari:

The fact that Kentucky is renovating the arena and combining it with a convention center would give them an easy out here to change the name. Undoubtedly, a faction of the fan base will want them to dig in and resist the movement.

If you want to read a good faith argument for engaging with and rebutting the bigotries of historical figures as opposed to canceling them, click on this New York Times op/ed by University of Chicago philosophy professor Agnes Callard. In the piece, she presented that Aristotle had problematic views about women and slavery, but that he should be read and debated instead of canceled.


Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.


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  1. I think John Calipari will (smartly) decline any comment on this issue and will not touch it w/ a ten-foot pole. Yes, his opinion should matter a lot, but in these days & age, any slightly politically incorrect statement a public figure makes will get twisted by the woke mob and fascists, so why insert yourself in this chaos? The smart thing that UK will do is find the highest bidder & sponsor willing to pay tens of millions of dollars for the naming right of the arena and the convention center, and just call it that, which will make many unhappy but this way you are technically not appeasing anybody other than the bottom lines (which most folks will understand).

  2. When one of my children comes to me with a stupid “request” or demand, I smile and tell them, very politely,….

    “Quit being a buffoon… That ain’t happnin’” and walk away…

    No need for discussion… decision made…

    It’s time for the ADULTS to start responding in this fashion to these CHILDREN and their childish demands…

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