'He’s taking that next step': Oklahoma State receiver Landon Wolf has found his voice against racial injustice
STILLWATER — Chuba Hubbard was set for his first public interview since his famous tweet last month.
But he first had his own questions.
Oklahoma State’s superstar running back phoned a teammate. Should he even appear on ESPN’s “First Take” to discuss his near boycott of coach Mike Gundy and the resulting changes? What should Hubbard say?
Landon Wolf calmed his friend.
Wolf told Hubbard to be prepared with a plan and warned of the perils of soundbites. But Wolf also had another message.
Make sure to use the platform to empower other Black student-athletes and students across the nation.
“If he made it just about us (players), I think we would have missed the point entirely,” Wolf said.
These days, Wolf is delivering a clear message.
As protests against racial injustice continue across the country, OSU’s redshirt senior has become more than just a former walk-on and reliable receiver. Wolf is a growing voice of change on campus and around the state.
He’s met with campus leaders and police leaders looking to make a difference.
Wolf’s goal is to bridge a gap and to make sure a line of communication is open. He wants OSU, which had only a staggering 4% Black population in the spring, to be a better place for minorities.
“A lot of change we’re trying to make with me and Chuba and the administration is just being more welcoming to minorities and students of color, because there’s a lot of things on campus that are catered to the majority,” Wolf said. “Being able to accommodate and feel more welcomed on campus is something we’re trying to have those conversations.
“I don’t have any answers right now, but I think that’s the encouraging part of it is because we understand that a lot of people are behind us and have the same goals in mind to have a more diverse campus.”
Wolf saw the video of George Floyd’s death and knew it was time to speak up.
Wolf searched for ways to take action. He ultimately felt it was best to meet with police departments.
So, Wolf reached out to John Talley, a Republican state representative who is also the director of Fellowship of Christian Athletes of North Central Oklahoma.
Talley orchestrated a meeting with Stillwater Chief of Police Jeff Watts and assistant chief Shannon Jordan. Talley set Wolf up with OSU Campus Police chief Leon Jones.
“Instead of just marching and saying we need to be heard, he’s taking that next step,” Talley said. “He wants to make sure there’s a line of communication for Black athletes and Black students for the police departments.”
Each department was receptive to Wolf's message.
“They were both very much on the same as far as furthering the conversation,” Wolf said. “It’s a disconnect, so this is us trying to narrow the gap and provide an opportunity for student-athletes and students in general to have a conversation with police outside of their uniform and when it’s not a bad situation and the tensions are high.”
Wolf, who is from Tulsa, has a goal to ultimately meet with police administrators in the Tulsa Police Department. A meeting is in the works with the Payne County Sheriff’s office.
Wolf also has an announcement coming soon about other changes, but won’t reveal exactly what just yet.
“I think everybody has been really supportive of our mission and our betterment as a whole,” Wolf said. “That’s really encouraging.”
Wolf first noticed the chants of the Black Lives Matter protest drowned out by screams and collisions on the Interstate 244 overpass in Tulsa last month. Suddenly, a pickup truck pulling a horse trailer emerged through the crowd of protestors.
Standing one lane over, Wolf and a few of his friends hurried out of the way. They watched as police questioned the driver and let the truck and trailer pass.
A peaceful protest became a horror scene.
“To see people of all different races, religions, belief systems come together for one cause was really encouraging,” Wolf said. “But for the police to just let them go was discouraging and put a dark cloud over what was a happy day.”
In that moment, Wolf’s mission became even more real.
He supported Hubbard when he tweeted demanding “CHANGE” after OSU coach Mike Gundy was pictured in a One America News Network T-shirt. Wolf, Hubbard and linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga have been instrumental voices behind the scenes since.
Wolf also remains focused on his goals for change.
He wants Oklahoma to change its anti-affirmative action bill, which he said diminishes scholarships and certain provisions for minorities.
Wolf also helps two nonprofit organizations in Tulsa — Community Service Council and Common Good Tulsa — to give back to the community he loves.
And his talks with his teammates and administrators continue.
“For me understanding that I don’t have all the answers, that I may not be the most knowledgeable person,” Wolf said, “but I know my platform as a student-athlete allows me into different rooms and allows me to have conversations with people that I may not be able to have if I wasn’t wearing a uniform on Saturdays.
“(I’m) using that to better not only my team and myself but the larger community and society as a whole.”