Monday afternoon, college football rushing leader Chuba Hubbard took umbrage with a photo of his head coach, Mike Gundy, wearing a One America News Network t-shirt.
“I will not stand for this,” wrote the Oklahoma State Cowboy on Twitter, explaining that he would not participate in activities involving the school until “things change.”
Later that evening, he apologized for his comments in an extremely awkward video alongside the veteran coach:
Change is coming I promise you that. pic.twitter.com/wTGHtByh3N
— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) June 15, 2020
First of all, can’t somebody get a microphone on these guys? Hook up a couple of lavaliers (the ones that go under your shirt) or move the camera closer or tighten up that shot. It looks like it was filmed by a freshman journalism student who walked onto the Stillwater campus yesterday.
Second, Gundy just says a bunch of generic stuff here and doesn’t really get into the meat of the matter. Hubbard and other players are pissed not because of his t-shirt, but because they think supporting a far right news network is myopic when the guy runs a program featuring a significantly large portion of black players. It’s not so much as a difference of opinion, but an assertion that he’s not sensitive to the larger movement taking place and the overarching concept of racial injustice, which affects his players.
Third, Hubbard looks like he doesn’t even want to be there. He’s got his arms folded and doesn’t seem convinced by anything he’s saying or that Gundy is saying. A body language expert would have a field day with that video.
Anyway, a number of current and former OSU players also took to Twitter to express concerns with the program, leading to this statement from school president Burns Hargis:
“I hear and respect the concerns expressed by our Black student-athletes. This is a time for unity of our purpose to confront racial inequities and injustice. We will not tolerate insensitive behavior by anyone at Oklahoma State.”
Athletic director Mike Holder also said this:
This afternoon has been very disturbing. The tweets from the current and former players are of grave concern.
Gundy has been famously outspoken in the past, and I’m reading some other columns this morning ripping him to shreds, but it’s hard to know what the real truth is. In the famous “I’m a man, I’m 40!” rant, he went ballistic on a reporter for being unfair to one of his players, which suggested to me at the time that he was somebody who would stand up and fight for his guys when necessary. But that player, Bobby Reid, who was black, later said that he felt the rant was phony and was frustrated with the fact that he wasn’t getting playing time.
Of course, that screed took place 12 years ago, so it seems like Gundy and other old school college football coaches just need to sit down with their black players and listen to what they have to say and try to get an updated grasp on the larger movement here. It really wasn’t about a t-shirt. The frustration was because the players think OAN pushes far-right propaganda, and they don’t want to play for a guy who seemingly endorses it.
That’s the angle they were coming from.