Mike Gundy's Opening Statement Which Did Not Receive Much Attention

Robert Allen

STILLWATER -- Mike Gundy was out there again on Tuesday, April 7. Gundy's hour long teleconference included an near 20-minute monologue or soliloquy that was split almost equally in talking about the current state of affairs with the COVID-19 pandemic and the novel coronavirus. The efforts to combat it and the people responsible. 

The last 30-35 minutes were question and answer with the media on the call. It was primarily comments in that portion dealing with the desire to bring players back to campus, even test and quarantine the team to allow them to practice and prepare for a football season that would help with economic recovery locally and statewide. Gundy even said he could see football being prepared for on a campus that was void of regular student traffic and a normal academic setting. 

As far as we could see, it was those comments isolated in social media messages that were basis for some of the national media response. Even, Pokes Report did not publish the opening remarks and just described them. 

In fairness, are the opening remarks by Gundy that did not have anything to do with football. The Oklahoman gets credit for having this idea originally and they printed online, the entire approximately 20-minute message that included Gundy talking about his team and staff and the job they are doing during the quarantine. 

Gundy basically started with this:“So, I would like to start with, you know, we really have two different situations here. The first being the Chinese virus and all the people that are involved in trying to stop it and help fight it and so forth. Then I'll get into the second part of some of the questions, which were concerning all the players, personnel, budget, things like that.

“So for me, I'm really proud of the people of Stillwater and Payne County. Obviously statewide, our doctors, nurses, first responders. I've had some videos that have gone out on that. Also, our food providers, supply carriers, all the different people that have been talked about by a variety of people over the last two to three weeks. I've watched this really close. I don't pretend to be a medical expert or doctor. But when you get up early in the morning, and there's not a lot to do, so you start to read and study and realize all the people that have been impacted, and people that are on the front lines fighting this in a different way than others, I'm very appreciative. We all are very appreciative and supporting all those different people (fighting the virus).

“I think it's important that we continue to stay safe. Everybody's getting a little bit of cabin fever. Obviously, I'm not a guy that likes to stay home. My ranch has helped me. I've been able to farm which has kept me busy, but I have teenage boys at the house and it's not easy to keep young people at home. My youngest wants to go do things. But I think we have to follow what the President says. We need to stay our distance, continue to stay home, unless we really need to be out. You know, the washing the hands and don't touch your face.

“One part of it I thought was really interesting is if you do have to go out, spray the bottom of your shoes with Lysol and then take your shoes off before you go in. That's with all the virus that’s on the ground in grocery stores and places. I was not aware of that. So, we follow those guidelines in our house over the last couple weeks when we became aware of that.

“So you know, we're gonna flatten the curve. You know, it's already kind of starting some. We're seeing across the country where people have gotten it, the hot spots worse than us. The curve’s gonna flatten, so we can get our state back to work. So, we just continue with our safety measures to give us the best chance to to get back to work and get back to the normal daily operation as soon as possible. 

“One thing that that I've noticed over the last two to three weeks is I've watched more news and media coverage than really I wanted to. But to a certain extent, I thought it was necessary and then I got really interested in it. The people of Oklahoma — and I know more about Stillwater and Payne County, obviously, because I'm here and been here for a long time. But the people of Oklahoma have done a good job of not finger pointing and complaining.

“You know, as I watch people across the country, I see a lot of that. And I'm not sure what the goal is there. It doesn't do any good. There's not anybody in my opinion, again, this is my opinion, that could have prepared for what we're going through right now. I know Governor Stitt is responsible for the State of Oklahoma. And I think he's done a fantastic job. I think I've seen where some people said, ‘Well, he wasn’t as prepared for this and that.’ I want to know one person who was anywhere near being prepared for what we're going through right now.

“On a national level, the President and his staff that we're seeing every day, they're doing a great job. There's no way that he could have prepared for this. There's no way the governors could have prepared for this. State officials, anybody could have been prepared for this level.

“So, I'm proud of Oklahoma for not doing finger pointing. It is what it is. At this point, we all need to work together and be problem solvers instead of problem creators, and just move forward and do the best we can. Maybe, we can be better prepared for something like this later. But there's not any leader that could have prepared for what we're going through right now, in no way shape or form. You know, you watch the national news just like I do, and you see people saying, ‘Well, we need more of this. We need more of that.’ Well, they're trying to do the best they can, but ultimately, to a certain extent, as a state, we're responsible for ourselves. Governor Stitt’s responsible for the State of Oklahoma. The governor of Nebraska, the governor of Michigan, the governor of California, governor of New York, they're responsible for their own state. They could have loaded up on things like everybody else. But none of us did it. It didn't happen. Let's do what we can to make it better.

“So, you know, it's interesting as I have watched the mainstream media over the last three weeks. I understand the medical officials somewhat need to give us a worst case scenario, and we all have to listen to them because they know way more than we do. But I think we're getting to a point now, where I would like to see some of the results. I saw a couple days ago where in New York, 75% of the patients that have been hospitalized are now released. I'm seeing total number of cases, but what I'm not seeing is how many number of those cases that are now back to a normal life. Those are some of the numbers that I would like to see because we need to be instilling and putting some positive comments into what's going on with this virus, because I think there is a lot of people that are doing much better now. The drugs that are out, the three drugs, supposedly if it's true. I'm reading where those drugs are working. People are getting the virus, they're getting over it, they're back out there in public, they have the antibodies, they can help fight it, you know, the mainstream of people that are healthy enough to fight this.

“So, it was really interesting to me to see with the mainstream media, sadly enough, just how negative everybody can be. Let's just report the news. Let's start putting some things in there that are positive, because I know there's positive out there. I've talked to people that are working in the medical field, they're hands on, they're in these hospitals, they're in the doctors offices, they're seeing us recover from this. We're not hearing any of that, and so my personal opinion is from the mainstream media, I'm a little disappointed in all the negativity, for whatever reason. I don't know if it's politically driven or not. But I think it's time to start talking about some of the positives of what the people are doing to make it better, and the medical support and the reading in the study and the emergency release of the FDA products to try to get some drugs back to help people. So, that's my personal opinion. Everybody has a right to an opinion. My opinion is let's start getting some of the positive things out as we continue to fight this. Now, I know medical professions have to keep the danger out there so people will stay home. I'm not disagreeing with that. But I just haven't been real happy with the mainstream media and the way they've handled that.

“But that's enough of that for me with the virus, people taking care of themselves, how proud we are of everybody working, but I think it's time to start saying, like, we've got around 1,300 cases give or take in the state of Oklahoma that have been positive for the virus. I want to know how many of those now are out of the dark. I don't know how many is it. So, people talk about around 350 being hospitalized in the state of Oklahoma. How many of those are out of the hospital? I mean, what are we down to now? Is there 100 people in the hospital? Is there 150 people in the hospital? How many of the 1,300 now are free of the virus? Those are the numbers that I want to see, so we can start to instill confidence in the people of the state of Oklahoma and across the country, so we can get through this and get moving and get back to an everyday normal life."