Cancel culture is officially out of control.
The latest target of politically correct outrage is Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy. What was the man’s egregious thought crime? He wore a t-shirt. On his own time, while fishing with friends.
No, it wasn’t a KKK t-shirt or something else wildly beyond the pale. Gundy simply wore a t-shirt bearing the logo of One America News, a small, right-wing cable network that skews editorially toward pro-President Trump positions. In response, Oklahoma State players, liberal journalists, and left-wing activists denounced Gundy for his supposed transgression, with many even calling for his termination.
Canadian-born Oklahoma State athlete Chuba Hubbard led the charge, writing in a tweet that quickly went viral—receiving 140,000 likes— that he “will not stand for this.” He called Gundy’s choice of t-shirt during recreation “completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable,” and warned that he “will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.”
This prompted a pile-on.
Atlantic writer and former ESPN analyst Jemele Hill blasted Gundy in a series of tweets, and warned that “if [Gundy’s] habits make his players feel unwelcome, or that he doesn’t value them, then that’s on him. Freedom and freedom from consequences are two different things.” Forbes contributor Xavier Pope said, “No black player should ever play for Mike Gundy ever again.” Politico correspondent Tim Albert wrote to Gundy, “You coach Big 12 football. Your job is to lead & develop young men, most of them black. They’re living history right now—and you, their leader, think it’s cool to get photographed wearing OAN gear? Gtfoh.”
Far-left activist Bill Palmer wrote that “People who promote the racist propaganda hate speech on OAN are dangerous thugs,” concluding that “Mike Gundy cannot remain the OK State coach… unless he agrees to get extensive psychological help.”
These extreme responses from left-wing agitators are just a sampling of the vitriol that flowed Gundy’s way—all over a t-shirt. The result was a bizarre sort of detente captured on video between Hubbard and Gundy, where the coach promised to make changes and Hubbard said he shouldn’t have tweeted about it rather than approach Gundy privately. Thankfully, it doesn’t appear the woke mob will win the day, and it seems like Gundy will keep his job. Sanity, so far, has prevailed.
But it’s truly disturbing that the football coaxch ever faced such backlash over a t-shirt simply bearing a TV network’s logo in the first place. Gundy did absolutely nothing wrong.
Critics pouncing on Gundy pulled up (and in some cases, misconstrued) one-off examples of controversial, offensive, or factually inaccurate statements made on One America News’s programs. Yet using those to smear Gundy is an astounding act of guilt-by-association.
Does simply wearing a t-shirt with a network’s logo mean you are therefore responsible for or in alignment with every remark ever made on air or ever report the network ever put out? Of course not—and we would never apply that standard to someone who wore a CNN t-shirt.
More importantly, the idea that anyone is harmed by the choice of t-shirt Gundy wears while fishing is bizarre. The claim that this harm is so severe it justifies his termination is downright dystopian. Launching a witch hunt over someone’s wardrobe is “cancel culture” in its most ludicrous and toxic form.