The Week in Cowboy Football Ended Quietly with Work Going On
STILLWATER -- In the media business this is called a scene setter. The week started with a Twitter message showing a photograph of Oklahoma State football head coach Mike Gundy and two of his sons following a successful day on Lake Texhoma catching striped bass and Gundy wearing a One America News Network t-shirt and it developed into a full-fledged intense situation.
The Cowboys All-American running back Chuba Hubbard almost immediately tweeted his displeasure with his head coach's wardrobe choice and that he was not going to participate in any Oklahoma State football activities until something changed.
In the interest of fair and equal reporting here. Hubbard's teammates came out in support of Chuba and so did many former players. The majority of the former players we saw posting on social media were players that left as transfers, did not play much, or had issues off the field that went unreported. Running back Justice Hill, cornerback A.J. Green, and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor were credible players that came out siding with Hubbard about changes being needed.
Pokes Report contacted many former players throughout the week and found the vast majority did not feel Mike Gundy was a racist, had a good experience that did not include any mistreatment or bad experiences due to the color of their skin. They did, unanimously, side with the current players on the issue of the t-shirt that Gundy wore.
By the end of Monday afternoon, Gundy and Hubbard appeared together in an awkward video with Gundy explaining he was listening to Hubbard and his players, but no apology. Hubbard, meanwhile apologized for not going to Gundy in person and airing his displeasure on social media.
The media immediately came onboard with Hubbard. Gundy was criticized for not apologizing and Hubbard was told no apology was needed.
Tuesday followed with a much more emotional apology by Gundy, but again, much of the media labeled it as insincere and that he was reading from a teleprompter.
Since then the criticism has continued and former Colorado and NFL defensive end Alfred Williams, who played against Gundy, renewed his accusation that quarterback Mike Gundy called him and other Colorado players the n-word when Colorado beat Oklahoma State 41-17 in Stillwater in 1989. That has been a mostly back and forth he said, he said situation since it happened 31-years ago. Gundy denied it and his head coach Pat Jones and other OSU players cited the Colorado players for trash talk.
Hubbard went on the ESPN show First Take and both Gundy and Hubbard appeared on an ESPN3 video. Gundy called himself a "dumb ass for wearing the shirt fishing."
“I didn’t know some of the stances they (OAN) had taken. I didn’t know that,” Gundy said. “But then you look at it and say, ‘OK, I was a dumb ass.’ I put the shirt on not knowing enough about the shirt. I understood exactly why the players got frustrated when they found that out, or whatever however they found out what it was. I didn’t know. I didn’t know until the next day. Well I knew that night but I didn’t confirm it until I did a little research and I was like, ‘What a dumb ass.’”
Hubbard was asked questions repeatedly and it was obvious they were trying to get Hubbard to throw his head coach under the bus or at least, criticize him some more. Hubbard stood fast and showed great poise.
“He’s admitted to his faults and he’s trying to move forward,” Hubbard said on ESPN's debate show. “I see that as a positive first step. … On what my relationship was with coach Gundy before, it was also a work in progress. Every relationship, I feel, has bumpy roads, whether it’s a good relationship or a bad relationship. Coach Gundy has done a lot of good things, so I will not just shut out a man for one thing he did, but he did do wrong and he’s going to have to make up for that.”
Hubbard is intelligent and a good spokesperson, but he is not a person that looks for the bright lights, cameras, microphones, and attention. He consitantly deflects attention and has said he is not eager for media opportunities. This week put him squarely in that arena.
What has happened this week? I can tell you there have been multiple meetings with the players on campus, which now is most of the team. The only players not able to attend the meetings are the ones in quarantine from positive COVID-19 tests. Those meetings have yielded a lot of productive exchange. Yes, some rules and dress code were discussed, but so were relationships. That was really the theme for the players and coaches was how to understand each other better in respects not having to do anything with football.
Administration is monitoring the situation and doing some investigating. This is still very much on ongoing process.
On Friday, the West End Zone was relatively quiet. There is not a lot of panic and uproar and the staff members and support staff are going about their routines and their work.
One very pleasant sight was done on the field level where the locker room is and also the weight room as a small work group of players were going through a voluntary strength workout with Rob Glass and his staff not coaching, but monitoring the workout. One member of the staff told me that those workouts, which the Big 12 permitted to start on Monday, did not start at Oklahoma State until Wednesday.
It looked like there were around 15 athletes in there and I recognized all of them, so it was a veteran group of receivers and cowboys backs that were split up working on three different lifts and distanced away from each other.
The recruiting is still going well and the Cowboys are at 11 commitments in the 2021 class. Pokes Report has checked with the Cowboys committed recruits and found they are holding and solid with their pledges.
Oklahoma State Football 2021 Recruiting Commitments (11)
Jaden Bray, WR, Norman, Okla; 6-3, 190
Kolby Fields, LB, Metairie (Archbishop Rummel), La; 6-1, 208
Raymond Gay II, CB, Red Oak, Texas; 5-11, 175
Blaine Green, WR, Allen, Texas; 6-1, 205
Bryson Green, WR, Allen, Texas; 6-0.5, 202
Jaden Nixon, RB, Frisco (Lone Star), Texas; 5-10, 173
Logan Nobles, OT, Jenks, Okla; 6-6, 260
Collin Oliver, DE/LB, Edmond (Santa Fe), Okla; 6-3, 220
Cam Smith, CB, Little Elm (Braswell), Texas; 6-1, 169
Makale Smith, Saf., Midwest City, Okla; 6-1, 167
Ty Williams, Saf., Muskogee, Okla; 6-1, 191
Honestly, what Oklahoma State, Gundy and his staff, the players need is to be left alone. They need time together like they had in the meetings. It won't be easy in this day and age and there is not a lot going on to occupy the national media and they were sure drawn like a magnet to Stillwater for this, albeit virtually as is the norm in the pandemic.