Tue, 11 Aug 2020

Oklahoma State review finds Gundy isn't racist

Field Level Media
03 Jul 2020, 13:40 GMT+10

An Oklahoma State University review of Mike Gundy's behavior did not reveal evidence of racism, athletic director Mike Holder announced Thursday.

The probe was launched last month after Gundy drew criticism for wearing a T-shirt with the logo of OAN (One America News Network). Cowboys running Chuba Hubbard tweeted that Gundy wearing the shirt was "unacceptable," and Gundy apologized the next day to his players for the "pain and discomfort" he created.

Holder's statement Thursday read, "We have spent the past couple weeks reviewing our program and talking with current and former players. Our internal review found that Coach Gundy needs to invest more time in building stronger relationships with his student-athletes. However, our review has uncovered no signs or indication of racism.

"After meeting with Coach Gundy, I am confident that he listened to his student-athletes. I believe he is genuine in his commitment to strengthening relationships with his players. I believe this to be a win for everyone. I'm looking forward to seeing the impact this will have on our team."

Oklahoma State University president Burns Hargis said in a statement, in part, "After discussing the results of a review of our football program conducted by Mike Holder and (deputy athletic director) Chad Weiberg, the underlying issue was a lack of personal relationships between the head coach and players rather than anything racial. This issue is fixable.

"After meeting with both Mike Holder and Mike Gundy, I believe they are committed to taking steps to strengthen the relationships, which will improve communications and the program."

Later in the day that Hubbard first criticized Gundy, the two appeared in a Twitter video together, appearing to make up.

The next day, Gundy issued a longer video statement, saying, "I had a great meeting with our team today. Our players expressed their feelings as individuals and as team members. They helped me see through their eyes how the T shirt affected their hearts. Once I learned how that network felt about Black Lives Matter, I was disgusted and knew it was completely unacceptable to me.

"I want to apologize to all members of our team, former players and their families for the pain and discomfort that has been caused over the last two days. Black Lives Matters to me. Our players matter to me. These meetings with our team have been eye opening and will result in positive changes for Oklahoma State football. I sincerely hope the Oklahoma State family near and far will accept my humble apology as we move forward."

Days later, former Colorado linebacker Alfred Williams told the Oklahoman newspaper that Gundy called him the N-word while the two were playing in a 1989 game.

--Field Level Media

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