“I think we live in a world where people are noncommittal,” Gundy said. “We allow liberalism to say, ‘Hey, I can really just do what I want and I don’t have to be really tough and fight through it.’ You see that with young people because it’s an option they’re given. We weren’t given that option when we were growing up. We were told what to do, we did it the right way, or you go figure it out on your own. In the world today, there’s a lot of entitlement.”
The origin of this sense of entitlement?
“I’m a firm believer in the snowflake,” he said. Gundy, clarifying that he wasn’t referring to Mwaniki, who hasn’t played since starting the first four games of the season, said he was "talking about every millennial, young person. Generation Z, I think is what they call ’em. It’s the world we live in because if they say, ‘Well, it’s a little bit hard,’ then we say, ‘Okay, well, let’s go try something else’ versus ‘Hey, let’s bear down and let’s fight and do this.’ So you see a lot of that nowadays.”
And he wasn’t done.
“That’s just in general in society, even if you’re working down here at Walmart," said Gundy, whose salary is $5 million this season. "Your boss gets after you and tells you that you’re not doing a good job, you may go home and cry and tell your mom, and your mom may say it’s okay. That’s just kind of the facts of life, the world we live in today.”
Shaking his head with a grin, Gundy concluded, “Don’t get me started on politics.”
While the statements might come off as political, Gundy has long avoided getting into social issues or political philosophies, which makes his usage of “liberalism” and “the snowflake” all the more puzzling. As the Guardian reported in 2016, the Collins English Dictionary added the term “snowflake” as “the generation of people who became adults in the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offense than previous generations.” Gundy’s sentiments come at a time when the Cowboys, coming off three consecutive 10-win seasons under Gundy, are fighting to get the six wins needed for bowl eligibility this year.
His criticism also comes amid new rules from the NCAA that make it easier for student athletes to transfer more fluidly. Promulgated in June, the change allows student athletes to transfer to different programs without permission from their current schools. Under the new rule, which went into effect last month, schools are prohibited from blocking the transfer process or dictating where the athletes decide to transfer. In September, another starter, Jalen McCleskey, one of the most decorated wide receivers in school history, announced his intentions to transfer.
Even though the coach rarely has spoken about larger social issues, Gundy hasn’t shied away from his position in one area: school safety. Earlier this year, as the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., sparked a new round of debate for how to best protect students from a mass-casualty event, Gundy appeared at a school board meeting and offered to pay to help improve school safety in Stillwater. The act, he said, came in direct response to Parkland.
“You can take the politics out of this. You can take the left and the right out,” he said at the March school board meeting. “My question would be, do we have a plan in place and when you go to bed at night, do you feel good about it?”
In April, Gundy donated $35,000 to Stillwater Public Schools for armed security officers to be present at all 10 of the city’s area schools for the rest of the academic year.
On Monday, the response on Twitter, a platform Gundy said last month was “destroying this country,” wasn’t too kind to the coach. Dave Zirin, sports editor of the Nation, said Gundy “wouldn’t last ten minutes in a setting where he wasn’t paid millions to bully teenagers.” ProFootballTalk tweeted that the Oklahoma State leader is “a caricature of a stereotypical meathead football coach.” But the coach did have his supporters, including ESPN’s Will Cain and FS1′s Jason McIntyre.
“Mike Gundy, getting more awesome by the day,” McIntyre said.
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