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Mike Gundy Canceled Friday Scrimmage as Team Reflects on Social Climate

OSU called off a scrimmage Friday to reflect on a hectic week in America.



Photo via Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics

Oklahoma State was expected to have a practice and run a full scrimmage on Friday, but as the NBA postseason came to a halt with players protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake — and with much of the sports world on standby because of it — Mike Gundy called off what was expected to be a full workload on the gridiron. Instead, he urged his team to discuss the social climate and recent events including Blake’s shooting.

Gundy on Monday acknowledged the team had a unique Friday, but didn’t get into detail on specifics. Sports Illustrated reported that players broke into groups to discuss recent events, which was meant to serve as a forum for talking, listening and understanding.

“We let the players have input on the situation,” said Gundy on Monday. “So the seniors led the way, got together and had some discussions, got some good information.

“Everybody was scattered throughout the building,” he continued. “It was just listening to opinions on how people felt.”

Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisc. last week. After a video of the incident went viral, protests across the country spawned. He remains in the hospital and is paralyzed.

Gundy has endured a rough few months as OSU’s coach and spokesman between donning the shirt of a far-right, pro-Trump news network and issuing questionable commentswhich eventually led to an apology — over the coronavirus and the pandemic. But identifying unrest and taking action is among his best moments of the year.

After those earlier incidents he promised to change as OSU’s head coach — and to listen and to learn — and this is a positive step in the right direction. The fact that he identified unrest led to an open forum for him to better understand what his players are dealing with on a personal level, and that’s exactly what OSU, after a recent investigation, urged him to do.

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