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Whitlock: The fall of Oklahoma’s Cale Gundy illustrates who can preach values on college campuses

Op-ed
Brian Bahr / Contributor | Getty Images

Cale Gundy quit because woke culture forbids sharing his values. It’s the same reason Jay Wright retired as Villanova’s basketball coach at age 60. Same goes for Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski at age 75.

Woke culture prohibits college coaches from preaching traditional values. Male college coaches now strictly teach Xs and Os. College professors teach values. For a college professor, there is no higher value than the protection of feelings and the promotion of safe spaces. College coaches value arming and fortifying young men for the harsh realities of life.

Cale Gundy is yet another dinosaur who recognized the time we live in and voluntarily accepted the consequence of an American culture committed to the emasculation of men.

Gundy, a former Oklahoma University quarterback and longtime assistant football coach, allegedly resigned his coaching position because he read aloud a racial slur while reprimanding one of his players. According to reports, during a film session, Gundy became agitated when he saw a player distracted by his iPad. Gundy picked up the player’s iPad and read the words on screen, which included a racial slur.

Let’s assume he read the N-word. It is the favorite and most prized word in so-called black culture. Gundy coaches wide receivers, a position dominated by black men. Again, let’s assume he read the N-word.

In his resignation statement, Gundy took responsibility for his actions.

“The unfortunate reality is that someone in my position can cause harm without ever meaning to do so. In that circumstance, a man of character accepts accountability. I take responsibility for this mistake. I apologize.

“I want to be very clear: The words I read aloud from that screen were not my words. What I said was not malicious. It wasn’t even intentional. Still, I am mature enough to know that the word I said was shameful and hurtful, no matter my intentions.”

So let’s make another assumption. Gundy was doing the only thing he’s legally allowed to do at Oklahoma – teaching Xs and Os. He’s pissed that one of his players isn’t paying attention. Gundy gets agitated. He grows angry when he looks at the iPad and the player is consuming content that includes a word that Gundy views as denigrating and off-limits. Gundy’s values have probably taught him to believe it’s important that no man think of himself or refer to himself as the N-word. He’s justifiably uncomfortable with the behavior of young black men who casually use the word.

In his outrage, Gundy forgets that it’s illegal for college coaches, particularly white ones, to preach their values to black men. Only white liberals are allowed to preach values to black people, especially on a college campus.

Rather than explode in a fit of anger, Gundy chooses to use the player’s words and actions against him. He violates the player’s safe space by publicly shaming him in front of his teammates. Gundy mimicked the behavior of a parent. He verbally spanked his player.

Gundy forgot that the social-media-driven social justice movement ended the days of college coaches serving as surrogate parents to football and basketball players. College coaches are now personal trainers, employed to prepare young men for the NFL and NBA drafts.

College sports have a sole purpose: the pursuit of money.

A cynic will say that’s the way it’s always been. That’s not true. Money has always been the driving force, but there was room for shepherding and discipling young men. Woke culture ended that.

Brent Venables, Oklahoma’s head coach, obeys the gods of the new culture.

“Coach Gundy resigned from the program because he knows what he did was wrong,” Venables said Monday. “He chose to read aloud to his players, not once but multiple times, a racially charged word that is objectionable to everyone, and does not reflect the attitude and values of our university or our football program. This is not acceptable. Period. Coach Gundy did the right thing resigning. He knows our goals for excellence and that coaches have special responsibilities to set an example.”

The social media gods have spoken. Had the story leaked that Gundy scolded a player and uttered a word that black people use constantly, social media agitators and bots would have framed the OU football program as racist. Gundy’s job and reputation were offered as a sacrifice to the gods.

His story is a cautionary tale to other coaches. Don’t preach values. Don’t pretend to be a father figure. Teach Xs and Os. Look the other way when you see black players exhibiting self-destructive behavior. Let the liberal professors on campus and social media influencers groom the values and worldview of black athletes.

I feel sorry for Cale Gundy. He treated the player just as I would have.

I have less sympathy for Jay Wright and Mike Krzyzewski. They were at the very top of their profession. They have the platform and the wealth to speak against the emasculated culture being promoted on college campuses.

I’m sure there is a wide variety of reasons that motivated Wright and Coach K to step aside. Coach K has health concerns, including a bad back. The transfer portal and the new rules regarding name, image, and likeness have caused major chaos within college sports.

But the basic dynamics of coaching have changed dramatically. Coaches are reluctant to publicly object because they’re addicted to the multimillion-dollar paychecks. They grumble in private. I believe Wright and Coach K walked away because the job is no longer rewarding. Who wants to be a personal trainer when their vision was to be a life coach?

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