The Black Lives Matter movement has been on the minds of most people in the United States, including those in the sports world. One such group where this has made an impact is the Oklahoma State Cowboys football team.
Today, Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, who was the nation’s leading rusher with 2.094 yards, tweeted that he will “not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.” This was due to a photo that was posted on Facebook of head coach Mike Gundy wearing an OAN t-shirt. OAN stands for One America News, a far-right news network that is known for conspiracy theories and is supported by President Donald Trump. Hubbard said Gundy wearing it was, “completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable.”
It isn’t just Hubbard that is speaking out against Gundy. Senior offensive lineman Teven Jenkins tweeted, “as an O-line we stand and support Chubba.” Among others supporting Chubba is senior linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga and former Oklahoma State players Justice Hill and AJ Green.
Oklahoma State’s President Burns Hargis had this to say: “I hear and respect the concerns expressed by our black student-athletes,” said Hargis. “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.”
As someone who has followed sports for 16 years, I know that for teams to be in sync and perform well, the head coach must be a good leader and must have a good relationship with his players. Gundy wearing this shirt, especially in today’s climate, is flat out wrong. Wearing that shirt comes across as someone who cares more about his political beliefs than being a good example for those he leads. What kind of a role model is Gundy for wearing a shirt like that?
If Hubbard and other players sit out due to this, then Oklahoma State will not fulfill their hopes of a Big 12 championship this season. What’s important is that Gundy’s move has shot his reputation. Gundy has been the head coach of Oklahoma State since 2005. How many players have looked up to him as their role model? A lot of them probably think less of him now and that derails most of the good things he has done.
If I am Gundy, I would do a hard evaluation of my beliefs and try to change for the better. If he doesn’t do that, he will not only lose the respect of many of his current and former players, but possibly his job.