A day after wide receivers coach Cale Gundy resigned from the program, Oklahoma football coach Brent Venables confirmed that the ex-assistant used a "racially charged" world "multiple times" during a team film session prior to stepping down.
Venables didn't identify the word that Gundy used, but confirmed that he used it via a statement from the Oklahoma football program.
"Coach Gundy resigned from the program because he knows what he did was wrong," Venables' statement reads. "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 football program.
"This is not acceptable. Period. Coach Gundy did the right thing in resigning."
Gundy announced his resignation alongside a social media statement on Sunday acknowledging that he used "one particular word that I should never — under any circumstance — have uttered." Gundy — who likewise didn't identify the word — wrote that he said the word while reading aloud from a player's iPad.
"Last week, during a film session, I instructed my players to take notes," Gundy's statement reads. "I noticed a player was distracted and picked up his iPad and read aloud the words that were written on his screen. The words displayed had nothing to do with football. One particular word that I should never — under any circumstance — have uttered was displayed on that screen. In the moment, I did not even realize what I was reading and, as soon as I did, I was horrified.
"I want to be very clear: The words that 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."
Venables accepted Gundy's resignation in a separate statement released on Sunday prior to Monday's that shed more light on what happened. Gundy, 50, is the brother of Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, who drew criticism in 2020 for calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus."
Cale Gundy played quarterback at Oklahoma from 1990-93 and has worked on Oklahoma's coaching staff in various positions since 1999. He worked under head coaches Bob Stoops and Lincoln Riley prior to Venables taking the program over in December. Cincinnati Bengals and ex-Sooners running back Joe Mixon expressed disappointment in his resignation on Monday while writing that "this ain't right."
"Coach Gundy is everything OU and any institution would want in a coach, teacher, and mentor," Mixon wrote in a social media statement. "Most importantly Coach Gundy is not, and I repeat is not a racist in any way nor has a racist bone in his body mind, or soul. ... Coach Gundy is the farthest thing from this type of person."
DeMarco Murray also played running back at Oklahoma under Gundy before a seven-season career in the NFL. He's now the running backs coach at Oklahoma. Like Mixon, he vouched for Gundy's character in a statement on Monday while also writing that "what transpired was unacceptable."
"I will always support and love him as well as his entire family," Murray wrote of Gundy. "What transpired was unacceptable during position meetings. We must use this time to educate and continue to unify.
"I now the character and the man Coach Gundy has and is, more importantly I know his heart and what he stands for. ... He's not just my former coach, but a great friend of mine that will always remain that and more."
None of the players present during the film session have publicly addressed the situation.