Mike Gundy’s actions as a player under new scrutiny
Earlier this week, Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy apologized and made a public pronouncement that "Black lives matter to me" to prevent a threatened boycott by OSU players.
But the "pain and discomfort" Gundy acknowledged creating by wearing a shirt with the logo of a far-right television news network isn't the first time Gundy has been accused of stirring racial tensions.
On Wednesday's FS1 show "Undisputed," co-host Shannon Sharpe recounted a recent conversation he had with former Denver Broncos teammate Alfred Williams about a 1989 college game in which Gundy – then the Oklahoma State quarterback – allegedly directed a racial slur toward Williams and several of his University of Colorado teammates.
"He said, 'We were getting after 'em and I sacked him (Gundy) and he called me 'N,'" Sharpe said quoting Williams. After the game -- which Colorado won 41-17 – reporters asked Williams why he was so animated and "he blurted out, Mike Gundy called me N – and he actually said the word."
On his Denver-based radio show Wednesday afternoon, Williams reiterated what he told Sharpe about Gundy's use of the slur.
“There’s no walking that back. This story’s been out there for 31 years,” the nine-year NFL veteran said. "Every time I see his face, every time I look at him, I want to run through him... I’m 51 years old; why in the world do I need to lie about that?”
News accounts of the game in both The Oklahoman and Tulsa World included similar allegations from Colorado players of Gundy using the racial slur, which he denied.
"It's just not true. I've been here four years, and well over half of my friends are Black," Gundy said after the game. "I just did not say that; I wouldn't say something like that."
Williams told The Oklahoman on Wednesday night that he would like an apology for the alleged 1989 incident, but is not looking for Gundy to lose his job at Oklahoma State.
"I want an apology from him and I want to see him have some growth,” Williams said. “If he denies that he said (that), I have at least 20 people who will vouch for what happened that day."
Now in his 16th season as Oklahoma State's head coach, Gundy apologized to current and former team members and their families for a recent photo of him wearing a T-shirt with the logo of One America News Network – a far-right, channel that has been rated by Media Bias/Fact Check as being "not a credible news source” and has been critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Star running back Chuba Hubbard said he "had to hold (Gundy) accountable" for wearing the OAN shirt, which he called “completely insensitive” and “unacceptable.” Hubbard later apologized for doing so on social media, instead of talking to Gundy in person.
Gundy later met with players and promised to make changes.
“I sincerely hope the Oklahoma State family near and far will accept my humble apology as we move forward,” Gundy said.