Mike Gundy got his infamous OAN T-shirt as a gift from the far-right network.
According to emails obtained by the Extra Point Newsletter, a representative for the cable news network reached out to send the Oklahoma State coach some free stuff after he praised the channel’s coverage in April. Gundy made those comments about the network when he said that players should return to campus so football could happen to “run money through the state of Oklahoma.”
Gundy’s coronavirus comments were roundly and understandably criticized so swiftly that Oklahoma State was forced to issue a statement afterward saying it would adhere to the advice of public health experts regarding coronavirus protocols.
Turmoil at OSU became public after Gundy wore shirt
Gundy immediately took OAN up on the offer and even said he would like a hat. He wore the shirt on a June 10 fishing trip that became public on social media on June 15.
After seeing the picture of Gundy in the shirt, star running back Chuba Hubbard said he would be boycotting all team activities and was backed up by star linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga. Former OSU players also chimed in and said that certain things needed to change at Oklahoma State. It had become apparent that players were reacting to far more than Gundy’s wardrobe choices.
Hubbard’s boycott was over quickly after he teamed with Gundy in a video where the coach said he needed to make “changes.” That video came after Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis released a statement and athletic director Mike Holder said the tweets from players were of grave concern.
The newsletter details the behind the scenes maneuvering at OSU in the hours after Gundy’s picture was widely seen. Before OSU’s statements, a lawyer and prominent donor to the school said he wanted Gundy suspended immediately.
“I am requesting that Mike Gundy be immediately suspended and that an investigation begin into his racially insensitive conduct and incidents of outright racist remarks to current and former players,” Peter Erdeos wrote. “I’ve been advised that he used the racial slur towards at least one current player as confirmed by another former player I spoke with over the weekend.”
There are other details in the emails, including how Oklahoma State scrambled to craft statements for Gundy apologizing for his conduct. The coach said in an apology video on June 16 that he was unaware of how the network negatively portrayed the Black Lives Matter movement despite his previously publicly professed love for the channel.
Gundy’s contract changed after investigation
Gundy was never suspended, but the school began an investigation of Gundy and his actions running the football program in the days after June 15. It said July 2 that it had found “no signs or indications of racism” from Gundy, though it said he needed to spend more time investing in relationships with his players.
Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel detailed many of those shortcomings in a June 23 story. Thamel relayed how Gundy didn’t know the name of a walk-on whose heart had stopped while he was practicing during the 2019 season.
In a news conference on July 3, Holder said that Gundy volunteered to take a $1 million pay cut from the over $5 million salary he made in 2019 as the 13th-highest paid coach in college football. His contract was also significantly changed. Instead of a rolling five-year extension, Gundy now has a standard four-year contract with the school and a reduced buyout tag to go with it.
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
More from Yahoo Sports: