Chuba Hubbard wants to make a few things clear.
On Monday, the star Oklahoma State running back called out his head coach, Mike Gundy, for wearing an OAN shirt on a recent fishing trip. OAN is an extreme right-wing network known for pushing conspiracy theories that also has a host who recently called Black Lives Matter a “farce.” Hubbard said Gundy’s shirt choice was “completely insensitive to everything going on in society” and that he would not do “anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.”
Monday also happened to be the first day of OSU’s return to workouts, so Hubbard was able to meet with Gundy face-to-face. That resulted in what seemed to be a bit of an about face from Hubbard later in the day in the form of a video statement where Gundy vowed to make “changes” while Hubbard apologized for using Twitter to express his discontent instead of going to his coach first.
“I went about it the wrong way by tweeting,” Hubbard said Monday. “I’m not someone that has to tweet something to make change. I should have went to him as a man. I’m more about action. That was bad on my part. From now on, we’re gonna focus on bringing change. And that’s the most important thing.”
On Tuesday, Hubbard released a statement in an effort to clarify a few things. First, he said he was “never wrong” for what he said, but still believes he could have addressed the situation in a different manner. Still, Hubbard believes he “had to hold [Gundy] accountable” and Monday’s back-and-forth is going to result in positive changes in the Oklahoma State program.
“I will start by saying this; I was never wrong for saying what I said. I am a man, and I realized I should have went to him as a man face to face rather than on Twitter. That’s my opinion. But I had to hold him accountable either way. I am glad things happened the way they did because things are being changed as we speak!” Hubbard wrote.
Hubbard: ‘I am emotionally drained’
Hubbard said he decided to speak out because he is “emotionally drained” from the events of the last few weeks and knows he, as one of the nation’s top college football players, has a “platform to generate change.”
“If anyone truly knows me, they know I am a very passionate person. I care about my family, friends, teammates and people I don’t even know. I spoke out because I am emotionally drained and I’m tired of seeing stuff happening without results or consequences. I realize I have a platform to generate change and I am trying my best to use it accordingly,” Hubbard said.
“I am a young black man that wants change. I want change that will bring a better experience for my black brothers and sisters at Oklahoma State. It’s that simple.”
After rushing for more than 2,000 yards in 2019, Hubbard decided to return to Oklahoma State for his redshirt junior season. With the NFL around the corner, Hubbard said he wants to spend the rest of the time he has in Stillwater bringing change to the football program and surrounding community.
“Over these next few months I have left at Oklahoma State, I will be working every day to bring change to this organization and to the world. I will be supported by my teammates along with people within this organization,” Hubbard said. “To everyone else, trust me when I say that good will come from this.”
Gundy, no stranger to controversy, vows to change
For his part, Gundy said Monday that he had a “great meeting” with some players after Hubbard’s initial tweet.
“In light of today’s tweet with the T-shirt I was wearing, I met with some players and realize it’s a very sensitive issue with what’s going on in today’s society,” Gundy said. “We had a great meeting. It made me aware of some things that players feel like could make our organization and our culture even better than it is here at Oklahoma State. I’m looking forward to making some changes, and it starts at the top with me. And we’ve got good days ahead.”
Gundy has had plenty of previous controversies at Oklahoma State, including previously praising OAN, the network that President Donald Trump recently cited for suggesting the 75-year-old man injured by Buffalo police was “an antifa provocateur,” for its coverage of the coronavirus.
“It’s One America News,” Gundy said in an April teleconference with reporters. “It was so refreshing. They just report the news. There’s no commentary. There’s no opinions. There’s no left. There’s no right.”
During that same April teleconference, Gundy referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” and said he wanted his players to return to football as soon as possible to help boost the economy in the state of Oklahoma.
“They are 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 years old and they are healthy and they have the ability to fight this virus off,” Gundy said. “If that is true, then we sequester them and continue because we need to run money through the state of Oklahoma.”
After Gundy’s comments made the rounds, Oklahoma State released a statement saying it would “adhere to the advice of public health experts.” Gundy, OSU’s head coach since 2005, subsequently issued a vague apology. Players returned to campus earlier this month with “voluntary” workouts resuming on Monday.
Coming off an 8-5 record in 2019, Oklahoma State is expected to be one of the better teams in the Big 12 in 2020.
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