Remember Mike Gundy’s “I’m 40” rant during a press conference where he told media members and critics to “come at me” instead of his college-aged players? That was 13 years ago, and things have changed. Someone finally came at him, and it was his own player, Chubba Hubbard, and several other players, both current and former.
A firestorm took over Twitter mid-day on Monday after OSU’s star running back Chuba Hubbard quoted a tweet that displayed a picture of coach Gundy wearing an OAN (One America News) t-shirt. The picture was of him and two other men after a fishing trip.
As we’ve said numerous times, the big issue isn’t the shirt that Gundy wore. Grown men are allowed to wear what they want. At the same time, other grown men, in this case, Hubbard, are allowed to take offense too. He took offense to the shirt, but there’s a deeper problem. The shirt was just the flame used to ignite the building that was already doused in gas.
Many people haven’t tried to sympathize or understand the Black Lives Matter movement. From its inception, they’ve searched for flaws. They’ve tried to villainize the people that are a part of the movement as well. Immediately after the term was coined, they countered it with All Lives Matter, ignoring the fact that all lives can’t matter if black lives don’t.
There are a few things that stuck out from this situation that raised a red flag. These are all reasons that may deem Gundy unfit to coach the Oklahoma State Cowboys football team.
He’s showing insensitivity to the time we’re living in.
Time to point out the obvious: Gundy is responsible for 50-plus 18-to-23-year-old young men, and the majority of those young men are African-American. Upon their arrival, typically as teenagers, their parents hand their trust over to Gundy as their guardian. For him to have political views is one thing. But for him to wear the t-shirt of a news organization that has taken numerous shots at the Black Lives Matter movement in their commentary may cross a line while in his profession. For him to support a station that allowed a host (Liz Wheeler) to call Black Lives Matter “a farce” and that it speaks “not for race, but for racial divide; not for hope but for oppression; not for justice but for revenge; not for freedom, but for fear; not for lives, but for lies,” is directly offensive to his African-American players.
The t-shirt may only be an accessory to the bigger issue, but that accessory shows how out of tune, or careless Gundy is about what our country is going through right now.
Other players supported Hubbard, but none (publicly) reprimanded him.
Instead, they continued to reprimand the coach that brought them to Stillwater. Hubbard insinuated some pretty serious things in his response to Gundy’s picture. Players didn’t come to Gundy’s defense either. In other cases like these, players defended their coach. Recently, a racial issue came to the forefront of the media from 2016 surrounding Clemson University’s football team, and it involved head coach Dabo Swinney. His players, past and present, came to his defense as a person, regardless of what allegedly happened in-and-around his program.
The opposite happened at Oklahoma State. Instead, players doubled down on Hubbard’s original statement that change was needed. Tylan Wallace, the school’s star receiver, quoted Hubbard’s tweet saying, “It’s About Way More Than Football!!!” Hubbard was also cosigned by starting linebacker Amen Ogbongbomiga, and his offensive linemen.
Former players elaborated more on what the current players said. Former Cowboys and current Baltimore Ravens running back Justice Hill tweeted, “OSU Athletics and University need major change.”Then after being accused of overreacting to the shirt, Hill added, “You don’t see everyday things.” Another former player LC Greenwood recalled Gundy calling him a “hood rat and thug.” Patrick Macon, a former OSU linebacker that transferred to South Florida added on Twitter, “I was Threaten I was Gonna Get Sent Back To The Hood Numerous Time.”
I can’t tell you what happens behind closed doors, because I don’t have a clue. But publically, Mike Gundy’s team didn’t come to his defense, and neither did his former players, which is extremely telling in a time like this. Especially for the most popular and successful football coach in Oklahoma State history.
His apology was late and insincere.
Here is the clip of Gundy’s apology after Monday.
His sincerity in the above clip is in question. Not only is it suspected that he’s reading off a teleprompter, but you’d also have to be naive to believe that a 53-year-old football coach had an epiphany and changed his stance within a day.
Gundy also claiming that he wasn’t aware of OAN’s stance on Black Lives Matter is also asinine. If that’s the case, then he may want to reconsider blindly promoting companies, unwarranted, on national TV, and wearing their apparel before knowing about the company he’s promoting.
Gundy’s political views don’t matter and neither does his news source. What does matter is the way the members of his team feel. If they don’t feel like he’s ushering in an inclusive and healthy environment, there’s a problem. Gundy’s style of coaching may have worked in 2005, and it may have worked in 2010, but in this new era of player empowerment, he’ll have to adjust, or maybe this isn’t the right job for him anymore.