(I decided that on a Sunday morning you need a break from the “Madness! Madness!” clip, since I could justify including that one with almost every post of late.)
The Mike Gundy “scandal” at Oklahama State—he’s the football coach who is paid more than any professor—anwers the question of whether there’s a weird variation on “The Naked Teacher Principle” called “The White Big Time College Football Coach Who Wears a T-Shirt With The Name of a Conservative TV Channel Principle.” The answer appears to be “There is, but there shouldn’t be.”
This Bizarro World plot started unfolding a couple of weeks ago. I apology for missing it. I think college football is an ethical blot on higher education; I was happily unaware of what OAN stood for (One America Network), and I pay no attention to the words on T-shirts, including my own. This, however, as the George Floyd Freakout and The Great Grovel go, was epic.
I all began when someone posted this picture of Oklahoma State’s football head coach Mike Gundy (That’s the coach on the right) during a fishing outing with his sons.
Gundy was wearing the dreaded OAN T-shirt. Nobody knows how long he wore it or why: some days I end up donning a particular T-shirt on it happened to be the easiest one to pick up off the floor. OAN, in case you’re as out of touch as I am, is a Fox News competitor for the conservative-tilted news market. It has been an enthusiastic promoter of President Trump, so naturally he likes it, he really likes it! Some of the network’s talking heads have also been critical of Black Lives Matter, especially lately.
Thus it was that when Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, an African-American the Heisman Trophy contender, who was the nation’s leading rusher last season, saw that photo on social media, he retweeted it with an exclamation of outrage:
The matter should have ended there. The student should have been told that his what his coach wears on a family activity during his private time is none of his business, that if he had a complaint, it should have been raised privately with the coach, and that he does not have the right to dictate opinions on public controversies or choices of T-shirts to anybody, particularly his coach. If Hubbard didn’t like those conditions, he was welcome to give up his scholarship and the football team, and devote himself fully to the scholarship he doubtlessly hungered for. If his teammates threatened to boycott the team if Chuba’s concerns weren’t addressed, the school should have informed them that they could leave too. Students do not run schools.
However, there is so much ethically out of whack in college football, especially at football mills like Oklahoma State, that Chuba’s tweet was not the end. Oklahoma depends on football revenue more than an ethical institution can or should. This gives star players like Hubbard leverage that students must not have, especially since students are nascent adults at best and are neither experienced nor trustworthy—that’s why they are going to school, allegedly—to learn. In fact, students like Hubbard are at college to play football, and anything they learn off the field is secondary. That’s the first component of this perfect ethics storm.
The second is that during the George Floyd freakout and the wide-spread (and irresponsible) capitulation by political leaders, school administrators and business executives and others who have mouthed support for the mob’s agenda (without knowing what it is) in hopes that they will not be ostracized, “cancelled,” fired, or have their offices, homes or businesses burned down, African-American activists and their allies have a moment of disproportionate power, and are eager to use it.
The third is that far more people are willing to give up rights and principles for money, security, and safety that behave like responsible citizens, and protect our democracy.
Thus it was that Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis and athletic director Mike Holder jumped in with statements fully supporting Hubbard, and denying the team’s football coach the right to like whatever TV news source he chooses, and wear whatever T-shirt he wants.
Quick diversion: here is commentary on the incident to that point on ESPN by woke reporter Harry Lyles. His crack aanalysis is that the T-shirt was racially provocative because…
“One of [OAN’s] anchors recently referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as a “farce.” Some might say that categorization of the movement is a “difference of opinion,” but it’s not. It’s a flat-out lie. The Black Lives Matter movement promotes equality in the world for people like Chuba Hubbard, and myself.”
No, you incompetent, arrogant hack. That statement was an opinion, just like your statement is. If you don’t know the difference between opinions and lies, you should be in another profession. And here is my opinion: if you really think Black Lives Matter is promoting equality, you haven’t been paying attention.
True to the recent script we have seen too often, Gundy quickly took to YouTube and groveled for all he was worth, saying,
“I had a great meeting with our team today. 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. 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. 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 near and far will accept my humble apology as we move forward.”
It was a cowardly and idiotic statement. Gundy embraced the cancel culture concept that every individual or orgnaization should be punished for any non-conforming statement of action, no matter how long ago it occurred, or what else they have said or done. I have little doubt that he was ordered to do this by his employers, who didn’t dare to anything that might affect the school’s income stream.
Yesterday, we learned the jaw-dropping resolution of this pressure system. Gundy has agreed to accept a $1 million pay cut and a one-year reduction in contract length as penance for wearing a T-shirt that students objected to while engaging in recreation with his sons. He was accepting a massive penalty according to this chain of responsibility: he was wearing a shirt, with initials representing a TV news network, on which one commentator had uttered an opinion that was negative about a political activist group that a star player supported.
ESPN reported, “In addition to the pay cut, Holder said the contract length was shortened from five to four years, his buyout was cut from $5 million to $4 million, and his guarantee dropped from 75% to 50%.”
Gundy accepted his shame and fine rather than standing up for freedom of expression and the precious liberties of the rest of us. With the Founders still on my mind, Ben Franklin’s famous observation seems apt:
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
15 thoughts on “The Disgraceful OAN T-Shirt Affair: Oklahoma State Joins The Madness”
I think college football is an ethical blot on higher education.
No kidding. Big time college football “programs” are nothing but modern day plantations. The administrators (presidents and ADs) are the owners and the coaches are the field bosses. Here, we see the owner throwing the field boss under the bus to quell a revolt by the slaves.
What big time sports have to do with higher education continues to elude me.
And I’ll bet one of T. Boone Pickens’ sons has personally guaranteed the original, un-reduced terms of Mike Gundy’s contract as it was originally written. This is just kabuki theater by OSU.
In related news. Protesters in Baltimore toppled the statue of Columbus that was in Little Italy and tossed it into the inner harbor as police looked on as it was carried quite far to get it to the harbor.
Mayor Jack Young said that people look at these monuments differently as others as a means to justify the vandalism. Ok Mayor Young are you saying that it is permissible to destroy another persons heritage monument because you take umbrage at it or are you saying that Black interpretations take priority over other interpretations? Does this statement give me license to now go destroy things that bear the name Malcom X or any of the other Black leaders I might find objectionable.
Governor Hogan is painfully absent and silent in this matter yet he never lets an opportunity to bash Trump. He and the male members of legislature have had their balls removed by the riotous minority. I assume now Hogan et al identify as transgendered persons; if not they are at a minimum eunuchs.
I believe it is time Marylanders start protesting the high taxes we pay to those who pick and choose social winners and losers. My consent is withdrawn.
I’ll never complain about paying $30 for a novelty t-shirt again. This is probably the most expensive shirt every worn by anyone.
What a difference a year makes. Last year I went to the Salute to America and the DC Independence Day Parade (which was cancelled this year). I saw more right-wing T-shirts that day than I’ve seen in 10 years, ranging from MAGA to Where We Go One We Go All. I elected to dress neutral for fear of being assaulted.
I can’t describe this as anything more than a BLM mugging. However, as you point out, there’s too much money in big sports now. It was pressure from Ole Miss that brought about the change to the Mississippi state flag. It’s pressure from big partners that could cause the loss of big profits that’s going to make the Redskins change their name and have the NFL go woke.
Still, there’s more to it than just loss of profit. There’s genuine fear. Yesterday BLM activists not only pulled down the statue of Columbus in the inner harbor of Baltimore – they threw the pieces into the harbor. The Baltimore police didn’t take the first step to stop it. This is beginning to smack of an organized campaign of bigotry against Italian-Americans, and a cowardly one. The few times they’ve been met by paisanos willing to defend their symbol, they’ve usually fled.
But hey, the mobs are just doing for liberal mayors what they wanted done anyway, but couldn’t get done by the process. They’re the Democratic party’s militia. I shudder to think what’s going to happen when Biden gets in and the GOP loses the Senate this fall.
Is it legal for a business (the college) to change a contract and reduce it by a 5th because someone got offended by a logo on a T-shirt that someone was wearing in their private time,? And, because a comment someone from the TV station theLogo represents on the shirt had an opinion many share about a controversial group?
A group who’s very name seeks to confuse because the name is a sentiment we should all agree with morally, and people have no idea the organization is radical movement seeking to destroy anything they don’t agree with?
Legally they can change a contract over that?
I hope this story gets out far and wide. And more like this. (Like the guy who’s Gate was broken by protestors who came on his property in Minneapolis, and he and his wife got guns to protec themselves.
Now he’s being called ae racist. He’sa lawyers too. Did you see that? And the prosecutor has promised to make him pay. Crazy story.
Honestly this all scares me.
It should. Before this is over, if it ends, you potentially could lose everything including your life, and, as you’ve already seen in Seattle, the authorities won’t lift a finger to prevent it unless and until they themselves are in physical danger.
Gundy’s contract was amended by mutual agreement of Gundy and the school. It was a PR move. There’s no way Mike Gundy is going to lose a single dollar or have his tenure shortened by a single day in reality. He and the school are in this together for the long haul.
Oh, Oklahoma State was very clear that Gundy had requested the salary reduction. Who believes that?
“Forgive me father, for I have sinned….”
Which makes me wonder. In the Progressive/BLM religion, there is no forgiveness of sin and no redemption. If Chuba is being counseled by a Progressive/BLM puppet master, Chuba will not be placated or appeased and Gundy will have to go and be replaced by a head coach of color.
I wonder how many people who were “ostracized, “cancelled,” fired, or [had]their offices, homes or businesses burned down” would adopt white nationalism? I mean, it is not as if the Stormfront White Nationalist Community ever hurt them.
One of my longtime Usenet allies wrote this about Black Lives Matter.
– Christopher Charles Morton
anyone who read his comments and posts online for even five years (let alone twenty-four, as I have) would know that Chris is certainly no apologist for white nationalism nor police misconduct.,
Give racialist literature the Jew test. Replace any specific racial reference in either with “Jew.” If it sounds like something could have come from the pen of Adolf Hitler, you’ve got yourself a nice piece of racist hate there.
Do I think some of the folks who lost everything might embrace white supremacy? I dunno, what usually happens to people who lose everything including their hope? They lose their fear, because they have nothing else left to lose. People who have nothing to lose tend to be capable of doing a lot more things than those who have something to lose.
Very good point.
Undermine the case against racism and it will be inevitable.
You must be wondering why I often quote Christopher Charles Morton whenever anything he posted is relevant to the post.
He has greatly influenced my own political views for the past twenty-four years. The earliest reply to any of my posts and comments I could find was on April 26, 1996.
– Christopher Charles Morton, 4/26/1996
I was eighteen years old and in my second semester of my freshman year in
That is so amazing!
I learned more from him than any one teacher I had, learning about the U.S. military, guns, the history of Chicago, the history of World War II.
And one of his causes was opposing police brutality and strengthening police accountability. He posted on this subject, first on Usenet newsgroups, since at least 1993.
And he still frequently posts comments on this issue on TheTruthAboutGuns.com and perhaps other web sites with comments sections.
I wish he had the Internet equivalent of a megaphone, so he could influence more people.
Wouldn’t this be like the Supreme Court decision you just posted about? Schools don’t have the jurisdiction to censor staff off compus either, do they? I can understand something illegal, but what is the dress code for non working hours? Should there be a dress code for non working hours for a state college, what about the DMV, or another state department? Students would need to abide by one too, if they decided to go that route… let’s just grab some overalls from 1984, shall we?
No, because private institutions aren’t the government, and employers have a legitimate interest in maintaining their public image by dismissing employees who embarrass or harm their reputation them by their words or conduct.
The ethics of course is rather complex, and is highly dependent on facts specific to the parties in question.