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Holder Says He Confides in Mike Boynton for Different Perspective

“His experience as a person is different than mine. I’m a 71-year-old white man.”

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Oklahoma State’s announcement on the findings of its internal investigation was met with a polarizing response from a national columnist, a response that Mike Boynton has seemingly put to rest.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken tweeted out pictures of OSU athletic director Mike Holder and deputy athletic director Chad Weiberg, who are both white, and noted that the two were in charge of the racially sensitive review.

Wolken received plenty of backlash, but none from a more credible source on the matter than Boynton.

“Any notion that Mike Holder or Chad Weiberg were ill equipped to review this department and its practices is lazy and irresponsible,” Boytnton tweeted. “Both are high integrity men who do everything in their power to take care of ALL of our athletes. Criticism is acceptable, recklessness is not.”

In a later tweet, Boynton clarified that the investigation had consultation with “many black people,” including Boynton’s involvement.

In a teleconference Friday morning, Holder clarified that a majority of the people he and Weiberg spoke with when conducting the internal look were black, and he dove a little deeper on Boynton’s involvement.

“He’s just a friend,” Holder said. “He’s always there to talk to me. When I had questions or I wanted to get someone else’s opinion on what was going on, he’s someone I confided in. I trust him, and I value his opinion.”

Holder hired Boynton in 2017. In an African-American dominated sport (OSU doesn’t have a white player on its roster), Boynton is just one of eight black coaches at the Power Five level. Here is that list:

  • Lenard Hamilton — Florida State
  • Kevin Keatts — NC State
  • Jeff Capel — Pitt
  • Juwan Howard — Michigan
  • Cuonzo Martin — Missouri
  • Jerry Stackhouse — Vanderbilt
  • Shaka Smart — Texas
  • Mike Boynton — Oklahoma State

“His experience as a person is different than mine,” Holder said. “I’m a 71-year-old white man. I have no comprehension of what’s it’s like to be black or African-American in America today. None. I have empathy for the African-Americans, especially those that are athletes that are under my charge. It’s important for me to seek out someone who can give me a better perspective on it.”

Boynton has been publicly active among all the social unrest in the country involving race. He released a statement after George Floyd’s death in May. He attended to a peaceful protest in Stillwater. He appeared in a Black Lives Matter video alongside Chuba Hubbard. And he is providing a different perspective for OSU’s athletic director.

“Every one of us has bias, implied bias,” Holder said. “Nothing we can do about it, just a product of how we were raised. So every day you have to try to remind yourself to try to be objective and only judge people based on what you see in front of you — not by the color of their skin, but by the person that’s standing in front of you. Not the fact that it’s a female or a male. Everybody deserves a fair shot in this world today. That’s what I love about athletics. It’s a meritocracy — you earn what you get.

“So, yeah, I’m interested in Mike Boynton’s perspective as an African-American, and someone that I respect because of who he is, what he represents and what he stands for every single day. We need more people like him.”

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