Star Oklahoma State University running back Chuba Hubbard threatened to leave the program Monday after a photo surfaced of his coach wearing a shirt bearing the logo of a conservative cable news network.
Hubbard, who rushed for 2,163 yards last season and was named the offensive player of the year in the Big 12 Conference, reacted harshly to a tweeted picture of Cowboys coach Mike Gundy sporting the logo of One America News Network, or OANN, known for its strong support of President Donald Trump.
"I will not stand for this," Hubbard wrote on Twitter.
"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."
By late in the day, Gundy appeared to have heard that call for change.
Gundy and Hubbard released a 51-second video, pledging to work together to work on what Gundy acknowledged is the "very sensitive issue going on in today's society." Gundy said he had met with some players, that he looked forward to "making some changes, and that starts at the top, with me."
In his initial statement about Gundy, Hubbard didn't mention George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose death in police custody has sparked worldwide protest against systemic racism and police brutality. But his Twitter feed includes supportive statements about the Black Lives Matter movement.
Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis, issued a statement saying: "I hear and respect the concerns expressed by our Black student-athletes. This is a time for unity of purpose to confront racial inequities and injustice. We will not tolerate insensitive behavior by anyone at Oklahoma State."
Hubbard also appeared to have the backing of teammate Teven Jenkins, an honorable mention all-conference offensive lineman.
Trump frequently cites OAN on Twitter and calls on its representatives in White House news briefings. Trump referenced a since-refuted OAN-fueled report in saying that an elderly protester in Buffalo, New York, who was seriously injured when two police officers shoved him to the ground might be an "ANTIFA provocateur" and that the incident could have been a "set up."
Earlier this year, Gundy demanded that his players be allowed to resume off-season training, saying younger people are not as threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Gundy might have been on the hot seat even before Hubbard's tweet. The Cowboys have gone 15-11 in the past two seasons, both of which ended with OSU out of the AP Top 25. His Pokes were in the final AP rankings in seven of 10 seasons between 2008 and 2017.
The coach is best known for a 2007 rant at a news conference complaining that a columnist, he believed, had unfairly written that a Cowboys quarterback had lost the confidence of the team.
"Come after me! I'm a man! I'm 40! I'm not a kid!" Gundy famously shouted.
The player in question was demoted to second string and eventually transferred from OSU.
And two years ago, Gundy complained that "snowflake" culture and "liberalism" were leading to a society in which people "don't really have to be tough."