Among players and former players expressing support for Cale Gundy on Sunday night, none did it more emphatically than Joe Mixon.
The Cincinnati Bengals Pro Bowl running back and former Sooner record-setter wrote a lengthy statement supporting Gundy and posted it on his Twitter account.
An hour earlier, Gundy posted his own tweet, shockingly offering his immediate resignation from the program he’d been spent 28 years as a player and coach following an incident last week during a position meeting, in which he described himself having read out loud “one particular word” that was “shameful and hurtful” from a player’s iPad.
Mixon decried the incident as a mischaracterization of what he knows Gundy stands for.
“I know racists,” Mixon wrote. “I have witnessed both obvious and discreet forms of racism and have known and detested even more actual racist. Coach Gundy is the farthest thing from this type of person. I spent every day for the 1,000 days I was in Norman with him. And I never saw anything that would lead anyone to believe this or think this.
“I know this about Coach, if he was admonishing a student athlete for any reason, it was because he was trying to help that athlete be a better person, player, teammate, and student athlete of OU.
“I know for a fact, that if he used any derogatory or inappropriate words, it was because they were written and not his own thoughts. I have never seen him say, think or utter any racist words, slang, or sayings.”
Still, Gundy said he didn’t want to be a distraction to this year’s OU team. Mixon said that wasn’t right and repeated his stance on Gundy’s character.
“Most importantly Coach Gundy is not, and I repeat is not a racist in any way,” Mixon wrote, “nor has a racist bone in his body, mind, or soul.
“He is a father figure, a mentor, coach, and best friend to me. He always had my best interest at heart and spent every moment (enriching) my life, educating me, mentoring me, and making sure I was the best version of myself. I owe a lot to a lot of people for my success but no one more so than coach Gundy.”
Gundy said he wanted to hold himself accountable by stepping down effective immediately. Mixon, however, doesn’t want that to be the end of Gundy’s story, and had some strong words for his former school.
“I offer my highest support and admiration for Coach Gundy and will be extremely disappointed with the school, the program, and the administrators if he is not allowed to continue as a coach at the university going forward,” Mixon said. “If he in anyone's eyes did anything wrong, then let us show people how we give people second (chances), how we help all people be better people and that we teach all to work together, grow and evolve as people.
“I for one, having gone through my own tribulations while at OU, know that I am where I am because I was given a second chance at school, life and to be a better person. And I owe a lot of that to Coach Gundy as a person, teacher, and coach.”