Curtis Martin knows Chuba Hubbard, the Canadian star running back at Oklahoma State University, isn’t afraid to step up and be a leader.
“It’s exactly what I’d expect from Chuba,” said Martin, who was Hubbard’s football coach at Bev Facey Community High School in Sherwood Park, Alta. “This is just what he does.
“If he believes in a cause, if he sees something that isn’t right or isn’t OK by his moral compass, he’s going to call it out. I think it’s still surprising, though, because sometimes even great people don’t do the right thing and I think that’s why when people do the right thing we appreciate it so much.”
Hubbard took to social media Monday to call out Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy after he appeared in a photo wearing a T-shirt with the logo of One American News (OAN), a far-right media outlet.
“I will not stand for this,” Hubbard tweeted. “This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable.
“I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE.”
Hours later, Gundy and Hubbard appeared in a video together where they shook hands and hugged. Gundy said he met with Cowboys players and added, “I’m looking forward to making some changes, and it starts at the top with me, and we’ve got good days ahead.”
Gundy did not issue an apology. But Hubbard, who led the NCAA in rushing last season with 2,094 yards, did.
“I’ll start off by first saying I went about it the wrong way by tweeting,” Hubbard said. “I’m not someone that has to tweet something to bring change.
“I should have went to him as a man. I’m more about action so that was bad on my part. From now on, we’re going to focus on bringing change and that’s the most important thing.”
On Tuesday, Hubbard took to social media again to clarify his position.
“I will start by saying this; I was never wrong for saying what I said,” Hubbard tweeted. “I am a man, and I realized I should have went to him as a man face to face rather than on Twitter… But I had to hold him accountable either way.
“I am glad things happened the way they did because things are being changed as we speak!”
And Hubbard said that change is coming.
“I am a young Black man that wants change,” he continued. “I want change that will bring a better experience for my black brothers and sisters at Oklahoma State. It’s that simple.
“Over these next few months I have left at Oklahoma State, I will be working every day to bring change to this organization and to the world. I will be supported by my teammates along with people within this organization. To everyone else, trust me when I say that good will come from this.”
The six-foot-one, 207-pound Hubbard averaged a whopping 161.1 yards rushing per game last season and scored 21 touchdowns. He was a unanimous All-American selection and the Big 12’s offensive player of the year.
Last month, Hubbard received the Jon Cornish Trophy as the top Canadian in the NCAA football ranks. Hubbard opted to remain at Oklahoma State rather than declare for the 2020 NFL draft.
“At every turn of his life, Chuba has always heavily considered his teammates and how much they mean to him with every decision,” Martin said. “He went back to Stillwater, Okla., because he loves his teammates and they’re like family and so… if he’s seeing his brothers treated in a way that isn’t right, Chuba is going to be the first one in line to bring the rally cry that this isn’t OK.
“He’s not interested in being a bystander when he has this immense platform to not try to make some sort of change that’s going to make the world a better place. And because that’s his mindset, I think it speaks exactly to what kind of kid he is.”
Martin was glowing in his praise for Hubbard when Gundy was recruiting the star running back. But Martin made it very clear those words came from his heart.
“He (Gundy) asked me if I’d let him date my daughter,” Martin said. “I said, ‘Yes,’ and I wasn’t joking.
“Chuba is the epitome of an unbelievable young man that I’d be absolutely thrilled and honoured to have around my own family. He’s always had that.
“The difference was he was a 17-, 18-year-old young man who allowed emotion, inexperience and immaturity to guide how he put his message together. Now he’s a 21-year-old man who’s had unbelievable media training, maturation, he has way more experience to guide his strong voice and he’s starting put that to work. I mean, he’s more mature than most 35-, 40-year-old men I know.”
Martin said Hubbard comes by his character and integrity honestly.
“If anyone spends 30 seconds talking to his mom and dad, he’s got by far the best family support you could ever ask for,” Martin said. “He’s a very blessed young man and he’s using his platform and his advantages to make a difference.
“Does Chuba want to be the brightest star that ever was? Of course he does. Every athlete that competes has wanted to be the best. But I’ve always got the feeling from Chuba that he was willing to walk away from the limelight if it meant doing right by those he loved the most.”
Watch below: Some Global News videos about Chuba Hubbard.