Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, who was college football’s leading rusher last season, said that he will not participate with the program in response to a photo released of his head coach wearing a shirt with the logo of a far-right television network.
In the photo, head football coach Mike Gundy is pictured on a fishing trip wearing a One America News Network shirt.
“This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable,” Hubbard said. “I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.”
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. https://t.co/psxPn4Khoq
— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) June 15, 2020
The news channel, One America Network (OAN), has a history of supporting President Trump and of spreading misinformation that favors the political right. It drew ire last week in the wake of an incident in which Buffalo police officers pushed down an elderly protester. The network characterized the incident as a potential “setup,” and Trump tweeted in support of that idea. There is no evidence to support those claims.
Gundy has previously praised the OAN for not being as laden with “negativity” as some of the “mainstream media,” according to The Oklahoman.
“There’s no commentary,” Gundy said of the network. “There’s no opinions on this. There’s no left. There’s no right. They just reported the news. And I’ve been watching them the last week, because they’re given us the news and given us more information — in my opinion — some of the positives are coming out.”
Other college athletes have taken stands similar to Hubbard in recent weeks. University of Texas at Austin players threatened to boycott donor and recruiting events if the university doesn’t take steps to make the environment more welcoming to its black students, including changing the names of buildings named for people associated with the Confederacy.
For now, it is unclear what specific change Hubbard is asking for. Hubbard, who is also a sprinter for Team Canada, has spoken out about police violence and racism in recent weeks via his Twitter account.
NPR reached out to the program about the incident and received a statement from Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis in response.
“I hear and respect the concerns expressed by our Black student-athletes,” Hargis wrote. “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.”
The university’s athletic director Mike Holder emailed the statement, “This afternoon has been very disturbing. The tweets from the current and former players are of grave concern.”