Mike Gundy Apologizes for Comments on Players Returning During Coronavirus Pandemic

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy released a statement on Saturday, apologizing for his comments on players returning during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I have been made aware that comments from my press conference have offended some,” Gundy wrote. “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.”

On Tuesday, Gundy drew ire from many when he said on a teleconference call that he believed it will be safe for his players to return by May.

“In my opinion, if we have to bring our players back, test them,” Gunday said, per KFOR’s Dylan Buckingham. “They’re all in good shape. They’re all 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22-year-olds. They’re healthy. A lot of them can fight it off with their natural body, the antibodies and the build that they have.”

Gundy said if any players were asymptomatic, they would be sequestered. He insisted the plan was not “crazy” because “we need to continue and budget and run money through the state of Oklahoma.” 

Gundy also added that while it is terrible that lives are being lost, “we still have to schedule and continue to move forward as life goes on and help those people.”

If any players were to test positive for COVID-19, Gundy said those members would be treated as if they had the flu and quarantined. 

“We get people that get the flu during the season,” Gundy said, per ESPN. “We quarantine them. We treat them. We make sure they’re healthy. We bring ‘em back. It would be the same thing here, but at some point, we’ve got to go back to work. …From what I read, the healthy people can fight this, the antibodies make it better. They’re doing some blood transplants now with the people that have already gotten the disease, that have gotten over it that have the antibodies that can fight it. There’s a lot of people who can figure this out. May 1’s our goal. Don’t know if it will happen. Players will come in after that.”

Oklahoma State issued a statement Tuesday night following Gundy’s comments.

“Everyone wants to return to some degree of normalcy as soon as possible,” the school said. “As for Oklahoma State University, 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 based on scientific data. We will not compromise the health and wellbeing of our campus community. This virus is deadly and we will do our part at Oklahoma State to help blunt the spread.”

Professional and college sports are currently suspended amid the COVID-19 pandemic. No date has been set for when college football practice can begin. 

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