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How uncertain are these times?

Well, a T-shirt with the OAN logo on it made Mike Gundy, a college football coach who earns several million dollars a year at Oklahoma State, apologize. Twice.

Never mind the fact that Gundy previously had said, "It's One America News so refreshing. They just report the news. There's no commentary. There's no opinions. There's no left. There's no right."

Gundy clearly is not overly familiar with OAN, a network that is all opinion and all "right."

But his words were not the trigger for the controversy. It was the T-shirt, and the blowback after his best player called attention to it on Twitter.

After seeing Gundy's T-shirt, Oklahoma State running back Chuba 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, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards in 2019, will be one of the preseason Heisman favorites in 2020 if, you know, there is a 2020 season. And apparently if Gundy minds his Ps and Qs and does not upset his star player, or his star player's girlfriend, pet sitter or anyone else in Hubbard's inner circle.

As for Gundy, he, by almost every measure, seems to be a jackwagon. The silence from the thousands of former players is quite telling after Hubbard's social media blast about Gundy's choice of T-shirt.

Hubbard's actions are just the latest example of the widening power and louder voice college athletes — especially in football — have today.

In years past, a player calling out a coach would have been deemed a no-no for lots of reasons, ranging from the player's fear of punishment to violating the "what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room" mantra.

That empowerment is a great thing. Truly, considering how many horrific incidents from Penn State to Michigan State and Baylor University could have been potentially avoided if athletes had the voice and the platform — and the open ears of the public — to speak out.

Hubbard becomes just the latest football player to flex these newfound muscles, which have been made even stronger by college presidents across the country admitting that without major college football, college athletics could perish.

Not struggle. Perish. And the football players see that the schools need them every bit as much as they need the schools, and maybe even more so.

Hubbard's antics will be the norm rather than the exception from here on out. He's part of a trend of athletes demanding change.

> The name Calhoun was stripped from Clemson's honors college, which was named after John C. Calhoun, a former slave proponent and former vice president of the U.S. under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. He donated the land that Clemson University is built on. OK.

> Virginia has removed some logos that have vague references to slavery. OK.

> Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond is demanding that the statue of former A&M president Lawrence Sullivan Ross, a former general in the Confederate Army who saved the university during the late 1800s, be removed from campus. OK, but there are more online signatures on the petition to keep the statue than to remove it, which will make a really interesting moment if come the season opener Mond says he won't play unless the statue comes down.

With the increasing power and influence these 18-to-22-year-old men now wield also comes greater responsibility.

Because if Gundy, Alabama coach Nick Saban or UTC men's basketball coach Lamont Paris, who make their living by getting the most from these young adults, want to vote for Donald Trump rather than Joe Biden or want to give money to St. Jude rather than a Black Lives Matter charity group, do they run the risk of losing the locker room?

Think more broadly. When will the history rewriters come for George Washington, who owned slaves? Or Thomas Jefferson?

Or, in the matters of college sports, how long before players demand that Kentucky changes the name of Rupp Arena, named for legendary coach Adolph Rupp, who some maintain was a racist?

And as beloved as Saban is, does he have the power to take the Bear's name off the stadium in Tuscaloosa? Because we know Bear Bryant did things that make Mike Gundy look like Mahatma Gandhi.

And those things had nothing to do with any T-shirt Bear was wearing.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

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Jay Greeson
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