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Stories About Racial Language from Gundy’s Past Have Come to Light This Week

The stories are piling up.



This week has not been a very good week for Mike Gundy or Oklahoma State. Following the OAN T-shirt incident that started everything on Monday and three apology videos that have followed it, some other issues have begun to surface for Gundy as it relates to his past as a player and a coach.

We’ll start when he was a player back in 1989. Former Colorado Buffaloes linebacker Alfred Williams said this week that Gundy called him the n-word in their game in November of that year. This is not a new allegation. It was written about the day after the OSU-CU game that year, and Gundy denied using that language.

The story originated from FS1’s Undisputed when Shannon Sharpe talked to Williams, a former teammate of his in the NFL, and then relayed that conversation on the air. You can watch that clip here. Then Jacob Unruh of the Oklahoman interviewed Williams. You should go read the entire piece.

“I want an apology from him and I want to see him have some growth,” Williams told The Oklahoman. “If he denies that he said (that), I have at least 20 people who will vouch for what happened that day.”

Here’s what Mac Bentley of the Oklahoman wrote on November 12, 1989 the day after Colorado beat OSU 42-17.

Several Colorado players said Cowboy quarterback Mike Gundy made racial comments to them during the game. Gundy, who has been a thorn in the Buffs’ side since he followed up a freshman promise to never lose to Colorado again with two lopsided victories, vehemently denied it.

“He said it to me and a couple of other guys on the field,” said outside linebacker Kanavis McGhee, a black. “It got me real upset. Here’s a guy in the spotlight all the time, to say something like that is not cool at all. All it did was fire us up.”

Defenders Bruce Young and Alfred Williams, both blacks, and Okland Salavea, a Samoan, also told reporters Gundy made racial comments.

“I didn’t say it,” Gundy said. “It’s just not true. I’ve been here four years, and well over half of my friends are black. I just did not say that; I wouldn’t say something like that.” [Oklahoman]

Ed. note: ? that it was still ok to print “a black” in 1989.

There’s more. Here’s the St. Louis Dispatch from that same game in 1989.

According to Colorado free safety Tim James, Gundy called several Buffaloes “n******.”

“I can’t count the number of times he used that word,” James said. “He has no class. There’s no place for that in sports.” CU linebacker Alfred Williams said, “I hope not very many people raise their children to be like him. He said things he had no business saying to anybody.” [St. Louis Dispatch]

Gundy went on to tell the St. Louis Dispatch that Colorado was the team doing the talking and said, “Go to Sports Illustrated and you’ll see that Colorado has gone face to face with everything, Rapes, assaults. Everything.” This did not please Williams, who was not part of that SI investigation.

Gundy reiterated his position in a media availability the next week that he did not use the n-word in the Colorado game, and (amazingly) there’s video of that.

“It did upset me. I have many friends that are black,” Gundy told News 4 in 1989, two days after that game. “The people around here know that and they don’t concern themselves with it because they know I’m not that way. I’d like to basically put an end to it and let people know I’m not that way, the people that don’t know me.

“I think it may have been something their players started. I don’t know why they’d do that. It’s embarrassing to me, but then again it doesn’t really hurt because I know that I carry myself in the way that I should carry. Plus, if I ever said something like that my mom would probably run me out of the house.”

Unruh pointed out in the Oklahoman that Williams — who has relationships with various high school coaches now — has told those coaches to steer their players elsewhere. Here’s how the article ended.

“He could have apologized to me 31 years ago,” Williams told the Oklahoman. “But I guess when you don’t have to apologize you get to do whatever you want.”

Hubbard was asked about the Colorado incident on Thursday when he went on First Take. Here’s what he said.

“Situations like those are tough,” said Hubbard. “I was born in 1999, so I personally can’t comment on something I don’t have any information on. I believe the people that were there know the truth, and that’s the most important thing.”

The other story came from former Oklahoma State All-American Sam Mayes, who now has a radio show on The Franchise and hosts his own podcast. He said earlier in the week that when he was a player in 2004 that his offensive coordinator once told him to get his black ass back in the huddle and Mayes’ offensive coordinator in 2004 when he played for head coach Les Miles was Mike Gundy.

Mayes fully recounted what happened in 2004.

“I told a story in that video that you’re talking about about a coach at Oklahoma State that told me to get my Black ass back in the huddle,” said Mayes. “That coach was Mike Gundy. He was the offensive coordinator at the time. Les Miles pulled him to the side, and they spoke quietly there with about 50-60 of my teammates, medical staff and assistant coaches standing right there.”

Powerful words from a former star. He went on to say that he didn’t tell anybody about it because he didn’t know who would be on his side or who he could confide in.

“When I watch Chuba Hubbard do that, I think, ‘Wow, I wish I had that courage in 2004,’ but I didn’t because it never really worked in my advantage, nothing was ever going to get done in that situation,” added Mayes. “At least that’s how I felt.”

Based on former players and people close to everything in Stillwater, I don’t believe that systemic abuse has occurred under Gundy as the Oklahoma State head coach, but all of these stories have started to stack up a little bit. It has certainly become more difficult for anyone to explain them away or shrug them off.

Former Oklahoma State running back Vernand Morency, who played with Mayes and for Gundy was very public and very outspoken recently as he shared some of his thoughts about what’s going on in Stillwater this week.

“This is the death penalty for Oklahoma State and recruiting!” he wrote on Facebook. “I guarantee we’ll have the most kids in the transfer portal next year. Over the last eight years no one has fought harder for Mike Gundy behind closed doors then I have, when the powers that be wanted him out. This is absolutely insensitive and absurd! No black or brown parent in their right mind would allow him to sit on their couch and try to recruit their child to Stillwater. He clearly has no clue about the culture or just doesn’t care.”

Powerful words from somebody whose voice matters a lot when we talk about all of this stuff. Morencey isn’t a former walk-on who’s firing off takes. He played in the NFL, is engaged with OSU and has had a successful post-football career.

Throughout the week I haven’t thought that any of this individually was going to be enough to end Gundy’s tenure in Stillwater, but I’m becoming less sure of that by the day. Maybe everything blows over, Gundy engages in true change within Oklahoma State and we move on into the future. But also maybe not.

Oklahoma State has some decisions to make and some things to address as a university before this chapter ends. Gundy has mostly done his part thus far, and I think he’s been pretty good (specifically in these clips last night). But as we move toward a weekend which — as Berry Tramel noted — could end without Mike Gundy as the head coach in Stillwater, there are still more questions than answers about what the future holds.

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