Oklahoma St finds ‘no signs’ of racism in football program
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State’s athletic director said late Thursday an internal review had found “no sign or indication of racism” in the football program under coach Mike Gundy after a number of players raised concerns.
“We have spent the past couple of weeks reviewing our program and talking with current and former players,” AD Mike Holder said in a statement posted online. “Our internal review found that Coach Gundy needs to invest more time in building stronger relationships with his student-athletes. However, our review has uncovered no signs or indication of racism.”
Two weeks ago, star running back Chuba Hubbard lashed out at Gundy on social media for wearing a T-shirt promoting a far-right news channel, One America News Network. Hubbard, who is Black, suggested he may boycott the program; OANN has been critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Hubbard’s tweet drew support from past and present Oklahoma State players. The school’s president and Holder issued statements supporting Black athletes, condemning insensitive behavior and voicing concern about the responses to the tweet without directly calling out Gundy.
Gundy, who is white, apologized and he appeared with Hubbard in a video.
“Our players expressed their feelings as individuals and as team members. They helped me see, through their eyes, how the T-shirt affected their hearts,” Gundy said. “Once I learned how that network felt about Black Lives Matter, I was disgusted and knew it was completely unacceptable to me. I want to apologize 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.”
Gundy also apologized in April after a media session in which he called the coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” Last week, the school announced a new diversity council that will include students, athletes and alumni.
“After meeting with Coach Gundy, I am confident that he listened to his student-athletes,” Holder said Thursday. “I believe he is genuine in his commitment to strengthening relationships with his players. I believe this to be a win for everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact this will have on our team.”
At Iowa, more than three dozen former players, most of them Black, have alleged racial bias within the program run by longtime coach Kirk Ferentz. Iowa has hired a law firm to conduct a review. Ferentz, who has the backing of his athletic director, has also promised to listen to his former players.
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