Canada’s best: Hubbard named top college football player from north of the border

Jason Elmquist/Stillwater News Press Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard was named the Cornish Trophy winner, awarded to the top college football player from Canada. Fellow Cowboy Amen Ogbongbemiga was also a finalist for the award.

Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy and running back Chuba Hubbard appeared in a video together late Monday afternoon, in which they acknowledged that changes should be made within the program.

It capped a fast-moving afternoon that began when Hubbard, one of OSU's top returning players and the nation's top returning rusher, posted on Twitter that he would not be "doing anything with Oklahoma State until things change," in response to a photo of Gundy wearing an One America News Network (OAN) shirt.

OAN is a far-right media network that has promoted conspiracy theories. An OAN commentator, Liz Wheeler, has called the Black Lives Matter movement a “farce.”

Less than a week ago, members of OSU athletics — including Hubbard, other football players and assistant coaches— were featured in a video denouncing racism.

In response to the photo of Gundy, Hubbard tweeted: “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.”

Hubbard's tweet was followed by many responses from former and current Cowboys.

The photo of Gundy, posted by Pistols Firing blog's Kyle Boone, shows Gundy wearing the shirt standing by his two youngest sons on a fishing trip at Lake Texoma. It was posted on the Facebook group Capt Steve Barnes Lake Texoma Striper Fishing Guide on June 10.

After Hubbard tweeted his displeasure, linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga responded by saying: “I stand with him!”

Star OSU wide receiver Tylan Wallace responded with: “It’s About Way More Than football!!!”

At least eight other current players responded. Former OSU and current Baltimore Ravens running back Justice Hill tweeted, “OSU Athletics and University need major change. 100% support brotha” in response to Hubbard’s tweet.

Former OSU defensive lineman Vincent Taylor responded to the photo saying, “A Gundy (you) straight??”

Taylor received a reply from Eric Henderson, the defensive line coach for the Los Angeles Rams who served as a graduate assistant under Gundy from 2013-15, with a “(Hell) no he’s not straight.” In the same thread, Henderson tweeted, “a lack of social awareness! Unbelievable” as well as a segment of a tweet that read, “Very intentional, can’t keep giving the benefit of doubt, especially when it’s a consistent matter!”

Another former player who tweeted out in response to Hubbard was Trace Clark. He said, “I’d say I’m not proud to have played for this man except I never played for him. I played for my brothers next to me with their hands in the dirt. The guys who left it all on the field with me. Gundy was never more than a figurehead for the media anyways, not a coach.”

OSU President Burns Hargis released this statement: “I hear and respect the concerns expressed by our Black student-athletes. 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."

OSU athletic director Mike Holder said in a release: “This afternoon has been very disturbing. The tweets from the current and former players are of grave concern."

The day ended with Hubbard and Gundy together in a video posted to Hubbard's Twitter account.

“In light of today’s tweet with the T-shirt I was wearing, I met with some players and realize it’s a very sensitive issue going on today in society,” Gundy said in the video. “So we had a great meeting and was made aware of some things that players feel like can make our organization and our culture even better than it is here at Oklahoma State.

“And I’m looking forward to making some changes, and it starts at the top with me. And we’ve got good days ahead.”

Hubbard apologized for addressing his concerns on social media.

“I’ll start off by first saying that I went about it the wrong way by tweeting,” Hubbard said. “I’m not someone that has to tweet something to make change, I should have gone to him as a man, and I’m more about action.

“So that was bad on my part. But for now on, we’re going to focus on bringing change, and that’s the most important thing.”

Following the release of the video, with a mix of reactions replying to his tweet, Hubbard posted a message. 

“No don’t get it twisted. Foots still on the gas,” the tweet read. “Results are coming. It’s not over.”

Gundy has spoken of his affection for OAN before. 

During an April media teleconference call — when Gundy made national waves for stressing the importance of his football players returning to the field in order to pump money into the economy in the state — Gundy mentioned he had begun watching OAN in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was so refreshing. They just report the news, there no commentary,” Gundy said. “There’s no opinions on this — there’s not left, there’s no right, they just reported the news. And I’ve been watching them last week because they are giving us the news, giving us more information, in my opinion, some of the positives coming out. So that was refreshing.”

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