Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has apologized for offending anyone with his plan to get the Cowboys football program back to work around May 1 while the coronavirus pandemic persists.
Gundy’s 46-word statement was distributed to media Saturday afternoon (CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone provided a link on Twitter):
“I have been made aware that comments from my press conference have offended some. It was never my intention to offend anyone and I apologize. My first priority is and will always be the student-athletes and doing what is best for the program and the university.”
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Gundy told a media teleconference Tuesday that COVID-19 should be treated in a similar manner as the seasonal flu, especially if expanded testing for the coronavirus is close.
“In my opinion, if we have to bring our players back, test ’em. They’re in good shape, they’re all 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 years old, they’re healthy. A lot of them can fight it off with their natural body, the antibodies and build that they have. There’s some people that are asymptomatic,” Gundy said on the teleconference, per The Oklahoman.
He also noted the economic impact of football season possibly being delayed if local governments keep quarantine and social distancing orders in place. The city of Stillwater, Okla., where OSU is located has a shelter-in-place order in effect through April 16, The Oklahoman noted.
“If that’s true (about people being asymptomatic), then yeah, we sequester ’em. And people say, ‘That’s crazy.’ No, it’s not crazy, because we need to continue to budget and run money through the state of Oklahoma.” Gundy said, per The Oklahoman, which added that Gundy said OSU’s football program is responsible for $77 mllion in revenue.
Oklahoma State did not support Gundy’s initial comments.
“We will adhere to the advice of public health experts who are making informed decisions in the best interest of the citizens of our nation and state based on sound scientific data,” the university said in a statement (per ESPN.com). “We will also abide by the federal and state mandates as well as Big 12 guidelines. We will not compromise the health and well-being of our campus community. This virus is deadly and we will do our part at Oklahoma State to help blunt the spread.”
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