Thursday, June 18, 2020

When a T-Shirt Becomes the Measure of a Man

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When you think you've seen and heard it all---you haven't.

Forget about removing Lincoln and Washington and Jefferson, Aunt Jemima from a syrup logo, and the Native American from the logo of Land O Lakes products---now we're hearing "take off that t-shirt because it causes me 'pain and discomfort'."

Is the shirt too small, maybe you need a larger size?

No. It's racist. And if you don't remove it, I'll ruin your career and hurt my football team.

What's on the shirt?

Be informed.

The fishing trip

Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy went fishing recently. When he and a couple of others returned to the marina, someone took a picture of them and their pile of fish.

His star player, Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, a Heisman Trophy award candidate, saw the picture and immediately threatened to sit out of all team activities after seeing the photo of his coach.

He was so offended he was threatening to disrupt a football season for all the other players and coaches.

Hubbard posted on Twitter:

"I will not stand for this...This is completely insensitive to every thing going on in society, and its unacceptable. I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE."

No, it wasn't the fact that the coach and his friends didn't "catch and release" the fish, it was much more.

The t-shirt Coach Gundy was wearing had the logo of OAN---One America News network. That's it? That's it.

One American News Network (OAN) reports news from a conservative, factual perspective---like Fox News except better in some respects. I watch it often. They're not racist. If they were, I wouldn't watch them.

However, they have questioned some of Black Lives Matters' responses and actions---like occupying parts of cities (Seattle), etc.

The OAN logo triggered the star football player, causing him to feel "pain and discomfort."

However, the coach's response may be even more concerning than a TV news logo triggering a star football player.

When a coach calls the wrong play.

Later on Monday, Hubbard posted a video of himself with Gundy, and the caption read: "Change is coming, I promise you that."

On Tuesday, the day before yesterday, Hubbard released a longer statement on the issue in which he said:
"I will start by saying this; I was never wrong for saying what I said. I am a man, and I realized I should have went to him as a man face to face rather than on Twitter. That's my opinion. But I had to hold him accountable either way....I am a black man that want's change"

Gundy's t-shirt reverberated across social media. In fact, ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum said publicly that Gundy should be fired for wearing that shirt.

On Tuesday Gundy had decided that the consensus among his players was that OAN is evil and racist. So he appeared by himself in a video to apologize---which he had not done earlier.

“I had a great meeting with our team today. Our players expressed their feelings as individuals and as team members. They helped me see through their eyes how the t-shirt affected their hearts,” Gundy said. “Once I learned how that network felt about Black Lives Matter, I was disgusted and knew it was completely unacceptable to me. I want to apologize to all members of our team, former players and their families for the pain and discomfort that has been caused over the last two days.
“Black Lives Matter to me. Our players matter to me,” Gundy added. “These meetings with our team have been eye-opening, and will result in positive changes for Oklahoma State University football. I sincerely hope the Oklahoma State family, near and far, will accept my humble apology as we move forward.”

However, is this how he really feels or was it a confession forced on him by a 20-year-old kid with a platform?

Gundy's "disgust" toward OAN and confession stands in stark contrast to comments he made just a few months ago when he said this:

“I tell you what’s funny is, I was flipping through stations,” Gundy said. “I found one — I don’t even know if anybody knows about this — it’s called OAN. It’s One America News. And it was so refreshing. They just report the news. There’s no commentary. There’s no opinions on this. There’s no left. There’s no right. They just reported the news. And I’ve been watching them the last week, because they’re giving us the news and giving us more information — in my opinion — some of the positives are coming out. So, that was refreshing.”

What would really be"refreshing" would be to see the coach be a leader.

It would also be refreshing to re-read some of Martin Luther King Jr.'s comments. Such as: "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."

Who is the leader in this tragic tale?

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant.

Perhaps leadership is just what this young football player needs at this time in his life---real leadership, rather than someone who claims to lead while surrendering his t-shirt.