Bill Self Participates in Forum Discussing Race and Sports

Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self was one of six participants in a forum discussing the intersection of race and sports hosted by the Kansas City Star Thursday afternoon via Facebook Live. Joining Self in the forum were Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick, Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore, Missouri men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin and Kansas State women’s basketball player Christianna Carr. The forum was moderated by long-time sportswriter Blair Kerkhoff.

The participants joined the forum remotely which lasted approximately 45 minutes. Each panelist took time to answer questions from Kerkoff and expressed their views of how the recent racial events have stirred the emotions this past month to what will progress look like moving forward.

“Obviously, it affected everybody that witnessed what occurred in Minneapolis in a way that brought on anger, sadness, and so many different emotions because we witnessed a murder right there before our eyes,” Self said of the death of George Floyd. “Thinking as a basketball coach, being in one of the most diverse groups, (I thought) that maybe I had a handle on things and I realize now I didn’t have near as good a handle on it as what I thought I had in so many ways.”

Self went on to say he has spent a lot of time educating himself listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, watching certain movies and providing himself a new perspective on where others come from.

“My players have been great,” Self explained. “As a coach and a leader, it’s time for me to maybe allow and encourage my players to have the voice and have me stand with them as opposed to standing in front of them and having them always stand behind me.”

When asked what progress will look like and what are its indicators, Self once again talked about the high-profile forum participants and the KU team and staff and its impact on the communities and state.

“I’m looking forward to our players getting back,” Self said. “I’m looking forward to words becoming actions. I’m looking forward to different things in our university and in our community that make this a much better place. I do think the words have been great and COVID has probably tempered some action just because the ability to be together and do things as a group. I do think we have a platform to really make a difference, even if not on a national or world scale (level) but we can certainly make a difference in our own communities and our own state.”