UK Football Legend Marty Moore talks with Lex, Buds, & Pick ‘n Roll about the importance of youth sports & Governor Beshear’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, winning a super bowl with the Patriots and the unsettling reality of becoming a Cleveland Brown.
For a long time in Kentucky when you said the name Marty Moore, your first instinct is to think about “that play” in the Peach Bowl against Clemson in 1993. He is one of the greatest defensive players to ever wear the Blue & White (John Clay at the Lexington Herald-Leader just named him the 10th best of all-time), and for many fans this is the memory that sticks out the most.
Thankfully, time seems to be changing that narrative. In 2014 Marty was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame, a well-deserved honor for someone who was 1st Team All-SEC his Senior Year. And let’s not forget about that big ring he has on his finger from playing for the 2002 New England Patriots. It’s got to be a nice feeling to add the phrase “Super Bowl Champion” whenever you’re introduced to someone.
In 2020, Marty Moore is wanting you to know him for something else, which is his efforts to get youth sports up and running again in Kentucky. We recently had the privilege to talk to him about this endeavor and his thoughts on UK football, Governor Beshear, and the culture differences between his time with Patriots and the Browns Here are my top 5 takeaways from that interview (and no, we did not ask him about the Peach Bowl):
- Marty thinks there will be football in the fall, and UK needs to get our athletes on campus in June to prepare. It’s one of the most discussed items in the country right now; Will there be college football this year and if so when will it start? We’ve heard options of a delayed season or even waiting until January 2021 to start playing. Marty seemed confident that the season would start on time, but that things might just look a little different. He compared what fans can expect at Kroger Field to what NFL games were like after 9/11 with the increased security. “We’ll all probably have to wear masks to go to games.” At this point I would wear 100 masks and a hazmat suit if it means we can get football back.
- I think it’s safe to say that Marty does not agree with Governor Beshear’s handling of the Coronavirus in Kentucky. He described the Governor as having “not really done anything” and is “waiting for other people to make decisions because he doesn’t want to be the one that steps out on the plank.” He then called for more leadership from Governor Beshear, saying that, “You ran for governor for a reason, you’re supposed to lead this state. So start leading.” Marty then admitted to being very frustrated by some of the decision-making and how much of it doesn’t make sense, such as allowing the Kentucky Derby in September but (potentially) not football games.
- Without football Marty Moore might have had a completely different path in life. Sadly, Marty’s father passed away when he was 16 years old. I can’t imagine how you even begin to cope with that at such a young age and Marty said that if he didn’t have football and that support group at that point in his life, he might have gone down a path of drugs as his brother did. When he was at UK Marty said his coaches were like his dad. “I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them, called them if I needed advice. A coach is more than a coach on the field.” That is powerful stuff and you can certainly see why the man is so passionate about getting young people back out of the house and playing sports.
- Listening to Marty talk about the difference in culture between the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns was fascinating. With the Patriots, Marty said “everyone drove SUVs and pick-up trucks. If you weren’t in the weight room by 7:30 we were calling you up. We were holding people accountable as teammates.” Whereas his first day in Cleveland was a little different, noting when he pulled in the parking lot it was full of Maserati’s and Ferrari’s. “It wasn’t about winning,” he said, “it was about what I got and I’m in it for me. To change that culture takes years.” As much as the Browns have failed to change their culture in the last 2 decades, Coach Stoops seems to have completely changed the mindset of the UK football team. Marty pointed out that “the culture at UK has changed. The mentality has changed. Kids don’t go into games knowing were going to get beat, they go in saying we’re going to win.” Thank you, Coach Stoops.
- Marty is ready to “Let Them Play,” and is working hard to make youth sports happen again soon. And it’s not just kids who are ready to get back in their games, Marty has not had a single parent tell him they don’t want their children back playing sports. I’m not sure if that’s an indication that parents really want their kids to play sports, or if they are all just desperate to get them out of the house for their own sanity. If you are one of those parents who wants to see change, you can check out Marty’s Facebook page “Let Them Play 2020.” Here’s to hoping we all see young people return safely to participating in the sports and activities that they love soon. In Marty’s own words: “Kids right now are looking for something and I don’t want them to look in the wrong place.”