Escalating tension within the Oklahoma State football program cooled Monday evening when coach Mike Gundy and star running back Chuba Hubbard appeared together in a video posted to social media.
Hubbard had previously called Gundy “completely insensitive” and threatened to stop playing for the Cowboys when a photo emerged of Gundy wearing an OAN shirt. OAN is a far-right cable network known for peddling anti-black conspiracy theories.
Following Hubbard’s strong criticism of Gundy, current and former teammates backed him up on Twitter. Several players then went on to accuse Gundy of past racist behavior.
The video of Gundy and Hubbard seemed to mark a step forward in relations between coach and team. Gundy didn’t outright apologize for his endorsement of OAN, but he did indicate it was a lapse in judgment and vowed to alter his actions. Hubbard, meanwhile, said he shouldn’t have aired out his frustration on social media.
“I met with some players (about the shirt) and realized it’s a very sensitive issue,” Gundy said. “I was made aware of some things that players feel like can make our organization, our culture even better than it is. I’m looking forward to making some changes, and it starts at the top with me, and we’ve got good days ahead.”
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Gundy didn’t address accusations he regularly called players “thugs” and “hood rats” in practice and threatened to discipline them for their attire.
While several active players expressed support for the video resolution, some of the comments from current and former Cowboys seemed to indicate negative feelings about Gundy’s relationship with non-white players run deeper than a partial apology could fix.
Former linebacker Patrick Macon, for example, wrote “Out With @CoachGundy” in a tweet before the damage control video came out. Defensive back Kanion Williams, who had called out Gundy earlier in the day, tweeted “Lol” immediately after the video released before soon deleting the message. It’s unclear whether Williams was referring to the Gundy situation.
Macon also blasted Gundy for not issuing a direct apology.
Lol Notice He Didn’t Admit His Wrongs And Apologize 😭😭He Said “We Had A Great Meeting”
— PatMaconMoves‼️〽️ (@Patrick_Macon44) June 16, 2020
Former Cowboys defensive tackle Vincent Taylor posted a facepalm emoji that Macon retweeted.
Hubbard seemed to address concern that Oklahoma State had steamrolled his dissent by sending a follow-up tweet clarifying his meeting with Gundy.
“No don’t get it twisted,” Hubbard wrote. “Foots still on the gas. Results are coming. It’s not over.”
No don’t get it twisted. Foots still on the gas. Results are coming. It’s not over.
— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) June 16, 2020
Gundy has been the coach at Oklahoma State since 2005 and managed strong on-field results throughout his tenure. His only losing season was his first campaign in Stillwater.
But his decision-making in recent months has forced those around him to field uncomfortable questions and potentially cracked his standing with some of his players. He previously drew backlash for comments he made about the coronavirus pandemic.
Gundy and Hubbard appearing on camera does indicate the controversy might die down, though it will likely be something each person will be asked about in the coming weeks and months.