Several top Oklahoma State football players spoke out against Mike Gundy after a photo of the coach wearing a One America News network (OAN) shirt surfaced on social media Monday, suggesting they wouldn't play for the team until the matter was addressed.
"I will not stand for this," wrote Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, quote-tweeting a picture of Gundy and two other men. "This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable. I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE."
Mike Gundy went fishing on Lake Texoma donning an OAN t-shirt pic.twitter.com/gq9c2I6HGl
— Kyle Boone @ (@Kyle__Boone) June 15, 2020
Hubbard's post was followed by support from Cowboys teammates past and present. Linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga said "I stand with him!" while former running back Justice Hill called for "major change" at the university and athletics department.
OSU Athletics and University need major change. 100% support brotha https://t.co/2JquXm3aPe
— Justice Hill (@jhill21_) June 15, 2020
OAN is a far-right media network that has regularly promoted conspiracy theories, including an unsubstantiated report about a protester injured by Buffalo police earlier this month that was shared by President Donald Trump. Outcry over police brutality following the death of George Floyd has led people to take to the streets throughout the United States.
Gundy also drew widespread ire in April when he made comments deemed to be ignorant of the threat of COVID-19. He later apologized for those remarks.
Athletes around the country have been speaking out about the black experience in America and ways in which inequality remains pervasive. Many of those players are in the pro ranks, but college stars such as Trevor Lawrence of Clemson have also contributed to the discussion.
The Oklahoma State football program now has the makings of a unified stand against the actions of its coach, who endorsed a publication with a troubling background of made-up reporting on racial issues.
In addition to Ogbongbemiga and Hill, offensive lineman Teven Jenkins backed his teammate on behalf of his entire unit.
As an O-line we stand and support Chuba https://t.co/5zau9yTpCF
— maybe: tev (@TevenJenkins) June 15, 2020
Members of Oklahoma State's defensive backfield also lent their voices to the matter.
Time for change!! I stand with him!!✊ https://t.co/KwQbhbcSBg
— Devin Harper (@DevinHarper13) June 15, 2020
So too did receiver Tylan Wallace.
It’s About Way More Than Football!!! https://t.co/Zjr5J5CFNf
— SUPERMAN (@OfficialTylan2) June 15, 2020
Later Monday afternoon, a couple of players added allegations of racism against Gundy that included Gundy calling them thugs in practice.
School president Burns Hargis responded to the comments from Oklahoma State players in a statement on Twitter but didn't mention Gundy by name.
I hear and respect the concerns expressed by our Black student-athletes. This is a time for unity of purpose to confront racial inequities and injustice. We will not tolerate insensitive behavior by anyone at Oklahoma State.
— Burns Hargis (@burnshargis) June 15, 2020
Athletic director Mike Holder, meanwhile, said "the tweets from the current and former players are of grave concern.”
OK State Mike Holder: “This afternoon has been very disturbing. The tweets from the current and former players are of grave concern.”
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) June 15, 2020