LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mark Stoops wants it known that he is not just a coach but an ally to his players.

"Black lives matter, and they matter to me a great deal," the Kentucky football head coach said Friday.

Stoops and players from his team joined protesters in downtown Lexington on Friday to protest against police brutality and racial injustices. He and his players wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts during the march. 

"Generally speaking, for seven years, I play things pretty tight to the chest on issues," Stoops said. "But not on this issue. Everybody has to get off the sideline and get in the game and be part of the solution. That's just a fact. That's the way it is." 

Stoops said he spoke to his black players both as a group and individually over the past week.

"I can't feel their pain," Stoops said. "I'm a white person, obviously. What young black people go through, I feel for them, but I just wanted to listen to them and be there for them. I could just tell that it was a very difficult time for a lot of people, and it still is." 

The team also took a symbolic trip to the Fayette County Courthouse where Stoops said he wants his players to return to register to vote when it reopens.

"We just want to do our part and be a part of the solution, and we'll do the best we can," Stoops said. "This is an issue that we can't just put it to the side and move on. We have to continue to talk about this issue and continue to make a difference." 

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