OSU coach Mike Gundy's full opening statement on coronavirus and football
STILLWATER — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy opened his teleconference Tuesday with an unusually long 20-minute statement that went viral and covered a wide range of topics.
He opened with praise of first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. He eventually got to recruiting and how players and coaches are preparing for next season. He also talked of a plan to bring football back sooner than later to Payne County, which you can read about here.
But he also strayed to the political side of things, showing his support of how President Donald Trump and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt have responded to the pandemic, and his newfound love of far-right One America News Network.
Gundy’s comments did not go unnoticed, drawing a statement from the university and ire from across the nation.
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Here is the complete transcript of his 20-minute opener:
“I'll kind of give an opening statement. I had (media relations coordinator) Sean (Maguire) ask you guys some of the questions that you might be asking me and, so, maybe I can get those covered up front, and then whatever questions you guys have will be fine.
“So, I would like to start with, you know, we really have two different situations here. The first being the Chinese virus and all the people that are involved in trying to stop it and help it and so on and so forth. And then I'll get into the second part of some of the questions, which were concerning all the players personnel, budget, things like that.
“So for me, I'm really proud of the people of Stillwater and Payne County. Obviously statewide, our doctors, nurses, first responders — I've had some videos that have gone out on that — food providers for supply carriers, all the different people that have been talked about by a variety of people over the last two to three weeks.
“I've watched this really close. I don't pretend to be a doctor. But when you get up early in the morning, and there's not a lot to do, so you start to read and study and realize all the people that have been impacted, and people that are on the frontlines fighting this in a different way than others, I'm very appreciative. We all are very appreciative and supporting all those different people.
“I think it's important that we continue to stay safe. Everybody's getting a little bit of cabin fever. Obviously, I'm not a guy that likes to stay home. My ranch has helped me. I've been able to farm which has kept me busy, but I have teenage boys at the house and it's not easy to keep young people at home. But I think we have to follow what the President says. We stay our distance, continue to stay home, unless we really need to be out. You know, the washing hands, don't touch face.
“One part of it I thought was really interesting is if you do have to go out, spray the bottom of your shoes with Lysol and then take your shoes off before you go in with all the virus that’s on the ground in grocery stores and public places. I was not aware of that. So, we follow those guidelines in our house over the last couple weeks when we became aware of that.
“So you know, we're gonna flatten this curve. You know, it's already kind of starting a little bit. We're seeing across the country where people have gotten it — the hotspots worse than us. The curve’s gonna flatten so we can get our state back to work. So, we just continue with our safety measures to give us the best chance to to get back to work and get back to the normal daily operation as soon as possible.
“One thing that that I've noticed over the last two to three weeks is I've watched more news and media coverage than really I wanted to, but to a certain extent I thought it was necessary and then I got really interested in it. The people of Oklahoma — and I know more about Stillwater and Payne County, obviously, because I'm here and been here for a long time — but the people of Oklahoma have done a good job of not finger pointing and complaining.
“You know, as I watch people across the country, I see a lot of that. And I'm not sure what our goal is there. It doesn't do any good. There's not anybody in my opinion — again, this is my opinion — that could have prepared for what we're going through right now. I know Gov. Stitt is responsible for the state of Oklahoma. And I think he's done a fantastic job. I think I've seen where some people said, ‘Well, he wasn’t as prepared for this and that.’ I want to know one person who was anywhere near being prepared for what we're going through right now.
“And on a national level, the President and his force that we're seeing every day, they're doing a great job. There's no way that he could have prepared for this. There's no way the governors could have prepared for this. State officials.
“So, I'm proud of Oklahoma for not doing finger pointing. It is what it is. At this point, we all need to work together and be problem solvers instead of problem creators, and just move forward and do the best we can. Maybe we can be better prepared for something like this later.
“But there's not any leader that could have prepared for what we're going through right now, in no way shape or form. You know, you watch the national news just like I do, and you see people saying, ‘Well, we need more of this. We need more of that.’ Well, they're trying to do the best they can, but ultimately, to a certain extent, as a state, we're responsible for ourselves. Governor Stitt’s responsible for the state of Oklahoma. The governor of Nebraska, the governor of Michigan, the governor of California, governor of New York, they're responsible for their own state. They could have loaded up on things like everybody else. But none of us did it. It didn't happen. Let's do what we can to make it better.
“So, you know, it's interesting as I have watched the mainstream media over the last three weeks. I understand the medical officials somewhat need to give us a worst case scenario, and we all have to listen to them because they know way more than we do. But I think we're getting to a point now, where I would like to see some of the results where I saw a couple days ago where in New York 75% of the patients that have been hospitalized are now released. I'm seeing total number of cases, but what I'm not seeing is how many number of those cases that are now back to a normal life. Those are some of the numbers that I would like to see because we need to start instilling and putting some positive comments into what's going on with this virus, because I think there is a lot of people that are doing much better now. The drugs that are out — the three drugs, supposedly if it's true — I'm reading where those drugs are working. People are getting the virus, they're getting over it, they're back out there in public, they have the antibodies, they can help fight it, you know, the mainstream of people that are healthy enough to fight this.
“So, it was really interesting to me to see with the mainstream media. sadly enough, just how negative everybody can be. And let's just report the news. Let's start putting some things in there that are positive, because I know there's positive out there. I've talked to people that are working in the medical field, they're hands on, they're in these hospitals, they're in these doctors offices, they're seeing us recover from this. We're not hearing any of that.
“And so my personal opinion is from the mainstream media, I'm a little disappointed in all the negativity, for whatever reason. I don't know if it's politically driven or not. But I think it's time to start talking about some of the positives of what the people are doing to make it better, and the medical support and the reading in the study and the emergency release of the FDA products to try to get some drugs back to help people. So, that's my personal opinion. Everybody has a right to an opinion. My opinion is let's start getting some of the positive things out as we continue to fight this. Now, I know medical professions have to keep the danger out there so people will stay home. I'm not disagreeing with that. But I just haven't been real happy with the mainstream media and the way they've handled that.
“I tell you what's funny is, I was flipping through stations. 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 given us the news and given us more information — in my opinion — some of the positives are coming out. So, that was refreshing.
“But that's enough of that for me with the virus, people taking care of themselves, how proud we are of everybody working but I think it's time to start saying — like, we've got around 1,300 cases give or take in the state of Oklahoma that have been positive for the virus. I want to know how many of those now are out of the dark. I don't know how many is it. So, people talk about around 350 being hospitalized in the state of Oklahoma. How many of those are out of the hospital? I mean, what are we down to now? Is there 100 people in the hospital? Is there 150 people in the hospital? How many of the 1,300 now are free of the virus? Those are the numbers that I want to see, so we can start to instill confidence in the people of the state of Oklahoma and across the country, so we can get through this and get moving and get back to an every-day normal life.
“Our players, our players are doing very well. Our administration asked me to keep the players at home if possible, if they have somewhere to be that they were safe, because it was better that they would be home with family versus being on campus. So, we have around 105 players that are here in the spring and we only have three that are here on campus right now. So, we as a football staff that follow those guidelines. Our players are home.
“As you know, our coaches have had the ability to meet with our players from a football standpoint through Zoom and maybe different apps. I'm not sure what all the different apps are called, but I know Zoom is popular. We're meeting with our guys. Some are meeting three, some four times a week. I've asked our coaches to not spend more than 30 minutes per meeting, based on I don't think that most of us much less than an 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-year-old Type A, athletic personality can stay tuned into a meeting on Zoom for more than about 30 minutes. So our coaches are keeping up with our players that way. They've done awesome, our coaches have been awesome. The players have been very responsive.
“So far, we're safe. They’re home taking care of themselves. I'm hoping that they're following the safety guidelines. So, from a football standpoint, our players are getting the information they need, in my opinion, up to this point. Our academic staff with (director of academic services for student athletes) Marilyn Middlebrook, they're awesome. I mean, they’ve just been fantastic. We actually have a better feel now for everything going on academically based on technology. Our players have the ability to go into academic tutoring and counseling sessions with our staff. And we're getting great reports and attendance reports based on how they're tuned into their classes. And I'm not so sure that these reports aren't more accurate now than when we're in school. So, I'm very comfortable with where our team is academically and our academic staff. Marilyn and them as I said, they're fantastic. They just overwhelmed us with information in the way they're communicating with our players. And they said our players have been very responsive. We have online check-ins. We know where they're at, we know when they're in their tutor sessions. So, I don't feel like our players are being cheated at all academically, thankful to technology we have in society today.
“Strength and conditioning, as you know we have the best strength coach in the country. He's been in touch with our players from Day 1. He's divided our team up amongst his staff. They stay in touch with him, they then have the ability to get gear if they need gear. Most of them don't need gear, they've got tons of things to work out in, but if they need it we can get it to them. Their nutrition has been sent to them, and so it’s on a player basis. Coaches provided them with what they need in all different areas, whether there's facilities to work out or it's at home stuff, nutrition, gear and we've stayed in touch with them. I've seen posts on Facebooks and Twitters and things like that with them lifting and continuing to train and work.
“One good thing about Oklahoma State football is our culture is to take care of yourself from the day that a young man walks on this campus until he leaves, we instill in them that we're going to give you way more than you're ever going to get the rest of your life. You're getting a free education, you're getting free food, you’re getting free housing, you're getting free nutrition, you have a nutritionist, you get academic support, you get all the gear you need but you need to learn to take care of yourself. So when you leave here, you're ready to go out in the world, take care of yourself, if you choose to be married, take care of your wife, if you want to have kids take care of your kids. That's what college is all about. We're developing young men. So, our culture has allowed us to let these guys go on their own and take care of themselves. Now, if a guy doesn't want to train, if he doesn't want to run, if he doesn't want to stay in shape, if he doesn't want to keep his strength levels up, you're not gonna do it. You’re not gonna do it anyway. So it is what it is. We'll find out. When we get the players back, you know, three, four weeks, whenever we get them back, we're gonna know who trained and who worked out. They're going to tell us something about themselves and we're going to learn a lot about the culture of Oklahoma State football once our players come back.
“So, our strength staff’s done a fantastic job. They're all over it. I have absolutely zero concerns there at all. Our medical staff, John Stemm, Scott Parker, they're in touch with our players consistently. They're getting information on the virus, on how to stay safe just like you guys are, things to look for. Those that were injured had surgeries and needed to be rehabbed and or the players that just had an injury that were in a rehab format, they have all that information. I was told that every one of them have the ability to rehab just like they would if they were here at whatever location they are. So, those guys have been with me — Stemm and Parker — have been with me, the majority of their medical staff, for a long, long time. So, I have a lot of faith in them and what they're doing, and I don't have any question and all that's being taken care of.
“So, if there's changes with the virus, our players' health, they're all going to know about it. They're going to know what to do. The schedules with them about when to report back from from all of this, we've been into contact with ‘em and we've discussed it, so as I turn this to our staff, our staff because of technology is working at home exactly like they would be working here, except we're just not in the same room. Everything else is done. We have all the laptops and the computer systems at the house. We have all the cutups, we have all the football from last year from the upcoming season, games we’re gonna play, teams we're gonna play, playbooks. Everything's done. We're doing the same thing, we're just not at work. So, technology has allowed us to continue on as a staff just like we would if we were here working together. And that's really the same thing. Our recruiting staff, they're doing the same thing. Our administrative staff, the workers, the people that are tied into our administration, they're working from home. Everything that needs to be taken care of, they're doing it.
“So, there's about 100 people that work in our building and all of them are doing something now just like they would be doing, except we're not face-to-face. We have an unbelievable culture in our building and I trust that they're all doing their jobs the best they can, and we'll get back in our building as soon as possible. Everybody's attitude’s good. I mentioned the national media, some of the finger pointing that I see out there makes me upset. Well, we don't have that in our building. The culture that we have the people in this building, there's no finger pointing, OK? We're all trying to work together to make this thing the best that we could make it. So, that's a tribute to the people in our building and I'm very proud of them.
“So, with the recruiting of the up-and-coming athletes, I know that's going to be some of the questions. We're following the guidelines. In my opinion, those guidelines need to be made faster. Once this virus hit and we said that we had to stay at home, it took 10 days to 12 days before the NCAA or the Power 5 conference commissioners can get together and say, ‘Hey, you guys can meet with your players for two hours a week.’ Well, it needs to happen faster than that. So, we're following guidelines on how we can recruit, different ways we can recruit, text messages, FaceTimes. We could use Zoom, now you can't use Zoom, so that's going back and forth. But everybody needs to be moving faster right now and make quicker decisions, in my opinion. But other than that, we're just following along and whatever guidelines they give us, that's what we're doing.
“With our staff, I sent out a message a week ago that my goal is May 1. I'm hoping that we have enough tests that are readily available. I'm reading every day where we're mass producing tests. I saw a couple days ago where supposedly they have a 15-minute swab, where you get results really quick. And I would think that, you know, as they take care of the people that need help right now across the country, but with all the different factories and production lines and companies that we have that are making masks and gowns and surgical stuff, and these tests and testing availability, and processing centers — just like the guy the other day from My Pillow, I saw on him on TV and he's taking 75% of the production of his company, he's now making protective equipment. So, there's a lot of smart people in this country that are now working. And I'm thinking in three or four weeks, we could have the test ready available for people that aren't sick, based on, can we test the employees, the hundred people that work in our building, and we can swab them and clear them to come into the building and get back to work. Once we've done that, I'm looking to start testing the players and bring them back. How fast that can happen based on the tests that are available? I can't say right now, but that's the plan. We have to have a plan, and the plan right now is for that to start on on May 1. It might get back two weeks. I don't know, I can't make that call. But if it does, we'll start with the employees in this company, the ones that come in this building. Then we'll bring the players in. Slowly but surely, we'll test them all in. Is it 100%? No, it's not 100%. But there could be people that work in this building that maybe are older, maybe have some type of underlying health condition. Maybe they don't come back. But the majority of the people in this building who are healthy and certainly the 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-, 22-year-olds that are healthy, the so-called medical people that are saying the herd of healthy people that have the antibodies may be built up that can fight this, we all need to go back to work.
“Now, can somebody get positive while we're working two to three days, a week later? Sure. We quarantine them just like we do people that get the flu. We get people that get the flu during the season, we quarantine them, we treat them, we make sure they're healthy, we bring them back. It would be the same thing here. But at some point, we got to go back to work, we gotta get these guys back in here. Once the medical people say, ‘Look, we can test you. We feel comfortable about this.’ I'm thinking at that time we're going to feel better about drugs that can fight it for the ones that do get it.
“But from what I read, the healthy people can fight this. The antibodies make it better. They're doing some blood transplants now with people that have already gotten the disease that have gotten over it that have the antibodies that can fight it. So, there's a lot of smart people that are going to figure this out. May 1’s our goal. I don't know if it'll happen. Players come in soon after that.
“So, if you're wanting to know, that's what the goal is here for Oklahoma State football. After that time, we're all going to try to stay as healthy as possible. So that was my 20-minute opening comments. If you guys have any questions, you can fire away.”