During a rambling monologue back in April, Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy bounced from referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” that players needed to return as soon as possible to “run money through the state of Oklahoma,” and bizarrely referred to right-wing network OAN as unbiased.
It was a bad look for Gundy, but that moment seemingly passed as the pandemic marched onwards. Until Monday, that is, when a Facebook picture of the Oklahoma State head coach was posted on Twitter in which Gundy is wearing an OAN shirt.
Mike Gundy went fishing on Lake Texoma donning an OAN t-shirt pic.twitter.com/gq9c2I6HGl— Kyle Boone @ (@Kyle__Boone) June 15, 2020
The next few hours mostly featured people getting off takes on Gundy and it seemed like it would end at that, as it normally does when Gundy does Gundy things.
A real non-zero chance Mike Gundy is a QAnon guy— BUM CHILLUPS, NPR CLASS PUNDIT (@edsbs) June 15, 2020
Except this isn’t a normal moment, so it turned out that Gundy’s star running back Chuba Hubbard, a dark-horse Heisman candidate this year, found it inappropriate.
I will not stand for this.. 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. https://t.co/psxPn4Khoq— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) June 15, 2020
All of a sudden, Gundy has a problem on his hands — Hubbard was the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award, and was asked to shoulder a huge burden for the Pokes, leading the nation in carries and finishing third in conference history with 2,094 rushing yards. He was the engine of that offense and a big reason why some pundits believe that Oklahoma State could challenge for a Big 12 title this year.
Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson made similar threats after new head coach Mike Norvell misrepresented the nature of his conversations with players. The coach and his players patched things up pretty quickly.
And it also appears that Texas football players like Brennan Eagles and Anthony Cook will participate in workouts and remain with the team after publicly musing about not playing.
The challenge is that now Gundy will have to do some things that it doesn’t seem like he’s used to doing — apologizing, trying to understand why Hubbard took offense to his shirt, and avoiding any more needless problems caused by his inability to moderate his words and actions.
[4:00 p.m. Central update]: Gundy’s problems are multiplying quickly. Some of Hubbard’s teammates are coming out in public support for him.
Other former players are publicly discussing him making insensitive remarks to them as apparent motivational tactics.
Damn @KanionW I was Threaten I Was Gonna Get Sent Back To The Hood Numerous Time... How Many Times Did He Say He Was Gonna Send You Back To South Dallas.?— PatMaconMoves‼️〽️ (@Patrick_Macon44) June 15, 2020
Another tweet was subsequently deleted.
And if you want know why a t-shirt matters, well, apparently t-shirts do matter around the Oklahoma State football facilities.
Before anyone says T-shirts don't matter, Gundy once fired a contractor for wearing an OU Sooners shirt on his property.https://t.co/gn2sG1eAEN— Nuria Martinez-Keel (@NuriaMKeel) June 15, 2020
[5:20 p.m. Central update]: From the president:
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
As people have noted on Twitter, the biggest problem for Gundy now isn’t the shirt — it’s the allegations made by the former players and whatever else might come out if the administration starts digging into “insensitive behavior.”
[5:46 p.m. Central update]: From the AD:
Oklahoma State AD Mike Holder: “This afternoon has been very disturbing. The tweets from the current & former players are of grave concern.”— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) June 15, 2020
[6:58 p.m. Central]: Hubbard and Gundy released a video together.