Football

Canada's Hubbard posts video with NCAA coach after calling out controversial T-shirt

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard and coach Mike Gundy posted a video together to talk about change Monday after the Canadian star suggested he may boycott the program in the aftermath of a photograph where the coach wore a T-shirt promoting a far-right news channel.

Oklahoma State running back promises more change after shaking hands with coach

Canadian Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, seen above in October, called for change at the school on Monday after head coach Mike Gundy was seen wearing a One America News Network T-shirt, a far-right news channel praised by the U.S. president. (Matthew Putney/The Associated Press)

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard and coach Mike Gundy posted a video together to talk about change Monday after the Canadian star suggested he may boycott the program in the aftermath of a photograph where the coach wore a T-shirt promoting a far-right news channel.

Hubbard, from Sherwood Park, Alta., and Gundy shook hands and had a quick embrace on the video posted Monday night after the latter was photographed wearing a One America News Network T-shirt. The channel has been praised by U.S. President Donald Trump.

"Change is coming I promise you that," Hubbard tweeted with the video.

"In light of today's tweet with the T-shirt I was wearing, I met with some players and realized it's a very sensitive issue with what's going on in today's society," Gundy said. "We had a great meeting and made aware of some things that players feel like can 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."

Hubbard then apologized for going on social media with his criticism.

"I'll start off by first saying I went about it the wrong way by tweeting," Hubbard said. "I'm not someone that has to tweet something to bring change. I should have went to him as a man. I'm more about action so that was bad on my part. From now on, we're going to focus on bringing change and that's the most important thing."

Later on Twitter, Hubbard posted, "No don't get it twisted. Foots still on the gas. Results are coming. It's not over."

Gundy is seen in a photograph on Twitter wearing the shirt with the letters OAN. In a tweet responding to the photo, Hubbard said: "I will not stand for this. This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it's unacceptable. I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE."

His comments led the school's president and athletic director to issue statements of concern and support.

Hubbard, who is Black, has been more active on social media since George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for several minutes. Hubbard has been supportive of protests that erupted around the world after Floyd's death.

Several current and former Oklahoma State athletes backed up Hubbard's tweet. Current linebacker and fellow Canadian Amen Ogbongbemiga declared "I stand with him!" and former Cowboys running back Justice Hill, now with the Baltimore Ravens, tweeted: "OSU Athletics and University need major change. 100% support brotha."

Ogbongbemiga later suggested he was pleased with what happened later Monday.

"By voicing our opinion we are happy to have came to a conclusion and opened a gateway to create some serious CHANGE around Oklahoma State," he tweeted. "My teammates and I have all agreed we will go ahead and resume all workouts and activities. We're all in this together."

Hubbard's comments sent ripples all the way to the top of the university.

"I hear and respect the concerns expressed by our Black student-athletes," Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis said in a statement. "This is a time for unity of purpose to confront racial inequities and injustice. We will not tolerate insensitive behaviour by anyone at Oklahoma State."

The discussion also got the attention of Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder.

"This afternoon has been very disturbing," Holder said in a statement. "The tweets from the current and former players are of grave concern."

An OAN commentator, Liz Wheeler, recently described the Black Lives Matter movement as a "farce" that speaks for "oppression" and "revenge."

Gundy spoke about his fondness for OAN during a conference call with reporters in April that mostly focused on the coronavirus pandemic.

"I was flipping through stations," he said. "I found one — I don't even know if anyone knows about this. It's called OAN. It's called 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."

Previous Gundy controversy

His praise for OAN followed several minutes explaining how he felt the "mainstream media" had been too negative in its coverage of what he called the "Chinese virus." He apologized a few days later.

"I have been made aware that comments from my press conference have offended some," Gundy said in a statement. "It was never my intention to offend anyone and I apologize. My first priority is and will always be the student-athletes and doing what is best for the program and the university."

In that same interview, Gundy said he favoured a speedy reopening of the school's facilities, but Oklahoma State disagreed with his timetable. The school recently reopened its facilities, only to have several players test positive for the coronavirus. Ogbongbemiga said on Twitter that he tested positive after he attended a protest in Tulsa.

Gundy addressed Floyd's death and the subsequent civil unrest in a statement on Twitter: "I'm thankful to be in an environment with Oklahoma State football and our Cowboy Culture where we respect each other. The 200 people in our family understand and appreciate diversity and have compassion for one another. I hope we replace the rage with respect and all come together."

Hubbard was NFL draft-eligible, but he chose to return to school. He was a first-team All-American and the AP Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year last season and finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting. His 2,094 rushing yards was the second-best single-season total in school history, trailing only Barry Sanders' 1988 Heisman Trophy-winning season.

With files from The Canadian Press

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