Oklahoma State Football: Has Mike Gundy suddenly lost his locker room?

Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State football (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State football (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) /

Oklahoma State football star Chuba Hubbard called out head coach Mike Gundy on Twitter.

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has had his share of controversy this offseason, but on Monday afternoon, things went to the next level.

Gundy was photographed wearing a shirt that bore the logo of One America News, a controversial news outlet that has become a favorite network of President Donald Trump. It’s also been praised by Gundy in the past as well, via The Oklahoman.

"“I tell you what’s funny is, I was flipping through stations. I found one — I don’t even know if anybody knows about this — it’s called OAN. It’s One America News. And it was so refreshing. They just report the news. There’s no commentary. There’s no opinions on this. There’s no left. There’s no right. They just reported the news. And I’ve been watching them the last week, because they’re given us the news and given us more information — in my opinion — some of the positives are coming out. So, that was refreshing.”"

This prompted a heated response from star Cowboy tailback Chuba Hubbard, who was visibly upset with the shirt worn by Gundy in the photo.

That wasn’t the end of the Twitter activity. Former Cowboy tailback Justice Hill echoed Hubbard’s sentiment.

Senior linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga stood by Hubbard as well. So did Cowboy alumnus AJ Green III. Former Cowboy LC Greenwood took to Twitter and levied accusations of racial abuse he received while in Stillwater.

That is a Heisman candidate and top running back in the country threatening to sit out due to his coach’s controversial political views, and current and former teammates are supporting him.

As if the last few weeks haven’t confirmed this fact enough, it has now been chiseled in stone. Sports and politics are not separate. Players will use their platform to voice what is important to them, and in the social media age, there is absolutely nothing that will stop them.

Why is Hubbard upset with the Oklahoma State football coach?

One America News Network, also referred to as OANN or OAN, is a television news channel and website that was founded in 2013, but has grown immensely in popularity since the election of Donald Trump.

The network’s controversial reputation rises from a number of factors, including accusations of trafficking in conspiracy theories, propaganda and a general bias towards the far-right (this reputation is bolstered by the fact that Robert Herring Sr., owner of OAN’s parent company Herring Networks, is a republican donor).

An aspect of the network that is especially controversial at this moment in our country is, as pointed out by HBO’s John Oliver, one network host’s description of Black Lives Matter as a “criminal organization”.

However, the simple support of a controversial news outlet may not be the entire reason that Hubbard has put his foot down.

When a Twitter user responded to Hill’s rebuke of Gundy and OSU by saying “for wearing a network t-shirt”, Hill was quick to point out that “you don’t see everyday things.”

For Hubbard, Ogbongbemiga and Hill, it appears that this was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back and led them to speak publicly. Hill’s follow-up tweet indicates that we on the outside may simply be seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Is Mike Gundy trying to lose his locker room?

Politics aside, this is also an extremely avoidable PR disaster for Gundy. Whatever side of the aisle one comes down on, it’s blatantly easy to see that posing for pictures in that shirt would cause controversy.

That’s even truer after a very well-documented few weeks in sports, where words and actions have been more scrutinized than ever. The Cowboy head coach had to have some idea as to the sort of reaction his shirt would cause.

Just last week, Dabo Swinney was widely criticized for wearing a National Football Foundation shirt that had on it the phrase “Football Matters”. If the Tiger coach faced strong backlash simply for that, Gundy had to know that his OAN shirt would create a similar, if not bigger, uproar.

This isn’t the only controversy that Gundy has run into recently. He faced a similar reaction after he advocated putting players at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, with the explanation that “we need… to run money through the state of Oklahoma”.

Money, of course, that those same players would see none of.

Gundy has, in recent months, seemingly welcomed the controversy. He’s apologized in the past, and gotten off scot-free every time.

However, as Monday afternoon indicates, it appears that his players may not be buying the apologies anymore.

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