Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy has apologised to his players and fans for his decision to wear a ‘One America News’ shirt on a fishing trip last week.
Gundy said in his halting apology video clearly read off a script that he didn’t realise how the network had been portraying the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
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OAN is a far-right news network proudly supportive of President Donald Trump and unafraid to monger in conspiracy theories.
A host from the network has even called the movement a “farce.”
“I had a great meeting with our team today. Our players expressed their feelings as individuals and as team members,” Gundy said.
“They helped me see through their eyes how the t-shirt affected their hearts. Once I learned about how that network felt about Black Lives Matter I was disgusted and knew it was completely unacceptable to me.
“I want to apologise to all members of our team, former players and their families for the pain and discomfort that has been caused over the last two days. Black lives matter to me, our players matter to me.
“These meetings with our team have been eye-opening and will result in positive changes for Oklahoma State football.
“I sincerely hope the Oklahoma State family near and far will accept my humble apology as we move forward.”
Gundy’s apology comes a day after star running back Chuba Hubbard said he wouldn’t be participating in team activities after seeing a picture of Gundy in the shirt on a June 10 fishing trip.
Gundy and Hubbard released a video later on Monday afternoon where the coach said changes would be made in the future and Hubbard apologised for voicing his displeasure via a tweet.
June 10 was a day after Trump elevated a baseless OAN conspiracy theory that 75-year-old Buffalo protester Martin Gugino was a member of ‘Antifa’ and he suffered a fractured skull after being pushed to the ground by Buffalo police officers in part of a “setup.”
Gugino’s lawyer said on Tuesday his client cannot walk.
Hubbard had to hold Gundy ‘accountable’
Hubbard wasn’t done speaking publicly after the video on Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday he said that he was never wrong for saying what he had said and that he needed to hold Gundy accountable.
“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,” Hubbard wrote.
“I spoke out because I am emotionally drained and I’m tired of seeing stuff happening without results or consequences. I realise I have a platform to generate change and I am trying my best to use it accordingly.
“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.”
Hubbard made a somewhat surprising decision to return to Stillwater for his senior season in 2020.
He led the country in rushing with 2,094 yards and was just one of four players to rush for over 2,000 yards in 2019.
Mike Gundy’s past promotion of OAN
Gundy’s self-professed lack of awareness of OAN’s position on the Black Lives Matter movement is curious given his past promotions of the network.
He brought up the fringe media company in a May conference call with reporters and touted how the network presented the news in a way that he found appealing.
“It was so refreshing,” Gundy said. “They just report the news. There’s no commentary. There’s no opinions. There’s no left. There’s no right.”
Gundy made those comments in the same conference call where he said college football teams needed to get back to playing football in 2020 to run money through the state of Oklahoma, while also calling the COVID-19 coronavirus the “Chinese virus.”
Following Gundy’s comments, the school said it would be following the advice of health experts regarding preparations for the 2020 season.