Pep in their step

Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press

Oklahoma State football players, from left, Amen Ogbongbemiga, Tylan Wallace and Chuba Hubbard talk about next year’s football season at a pep rally in the Oklahoma State Student Union in the spring.

Roughly 24 hours after Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard called for change within the Oklahoma State football program over social media, he is starting to see signs of it.

At the end of another day of unrest on social media – fueled by a report by former Oklahoma State men’s basketball player Doug Gottlieb on the “demands” from players that were met by Mike Gundy, which was disputed by players – Gundy released a video that Hubbard quote-tweeted as “A step in the right direction.”

“I had a great meeting with our team today,” Gundy said in Tuesday’s video that ran a minute long. “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 and 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.”

Players, beyond just Hubbard, began to retweet the message from Gundy as a sign of change.

Redshirt junior safety Tre Sterling quote-tweeted the apology, stating, “Real men accept their mistakes and make them right! I respect our Coach and everyone else needs to! Let’s get the season going!”

After a night of rest following Monday’s social media firestorm, the country’s leading rusher in college football a year ago came out with yet another message for change.

Hubbard – who on Monday wrote he would “not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE” in regard to a photo of his coach wearing a One American News Network T-shirt – appeared in a video later that day alongside Gundy, correcting himself for using Twitter to voice his desire for change.

Tuesday morning, he felt a need to deliver more than the brief words he had in the 51-second video with his coach.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone for the support. I will start by saying this; I was never wrong for saying what I said,” Hubbard’s message started. “I am a man, and I realized I should have went to him as a man, face to face, rather than on Twitter. That’s my opinion.

“But I had to hold him accountable either way. I am glad things happened the way they did because things are being changed as we speak.”

According to one former Oklahoma State player, the video of Hubbard and Gundy featured a noticeable change that a player within the program would have caught.

“ONLY the real know, since they let my dawg wear his durag in the video, a CHANGE is DEFINITELY coming!” recent OSU graduate Kemah Siverand tweeted Monday night.

Hubbard, who found national and international fame this past season, continued in his message Tuesday that he was “emotionally drained and I’m tired of seeing stuff happening without results or consequences” when he originally took to Twitter in dismay of his coach’s T-shirt.

“I realize I have a platform to generate change, and I am trying my best to use it accordingly,” Tuesday’s message said.

While Hubbard garnered continued support from his current teammates – both from his original tweet and Tuesday’s – several former players from the Cowboy program also rallied behind the most noticeable face on the roster.

Former OSU defensive back Ashton Lampkin tweeted out Monday night, “Don’t nun (sic) of this surprise me. If you been through that program then you know. I’m glad (Hubbard) brought this to light! #WeNeedChange”

Ultimately, change is what Hubbard was, and is still, wanting. But with a little more clarity in his lengthy message Tuesday.

“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,” Hubbard’s tweet Tuesday concluded. “It’s that simple. Over these next few months I have left at Oklahoma State, I will be working EVERYDAY to bring change to this organization and to the world. I will be supported by my teammates along with people within this organization.

“To everyone else, trust me when I say that good will come from this.”

Not long after Hubbard's most recent use of social media, an Oklahoma State alumnus in the national sports media reported claims of change within the football program.

Gottlieb, who is now a radio host for Fox Sports, tweeted out a list of "demands" that Gundy reportedly already agreed to.

Among those changes in policy, according to Gottlieb, were earrings, du-rags/wave-caps, ability to sag pants, hair and music – "music previously could not contain curse words, derogatory language toward women/race."

However, the tweet made its way to the current collection of Cowboys, who disputed the claims by Gottlieb.

Redshirt senior linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga – who was second on the team in total tackles last year – refuted the tweet, quote-tweeting Gottlieb with a reply.

"Be careful what you say and who you listen to," Ogbongbemiga tweeted. "The entirety of this isn't true and depicts a bad image on us.

"I haven't heard anywhere within the program that someone wants to play music that is disrespectful towards women. This isn't the sincere objective we're trying to achieve."

OSU defensive lineman Brock Martin also responded to Gottlieb, saying, “I’m not sure where you got this information but it is not even close to what was demanded of US players (yes white players too) that is changed within OUR program. You are trying to paint my black brothers in a bad light and I’m not gonna sit here in silence and let you do that.”

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