Oklahoma Sooners assistant football coach Cale Gundy said Sunday he is resigning after saying a “disgraceful and hurtful” word during a team meeting last week.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Gundy, who was the wide receivers coach at the University of Oklahoma, explained that he read a message on the player’s iPad after he noticed the player was distracted during a film session.
“The words displayed have nothing to do with football,” Gundy wrote. “A particular word that I should never – under any circumstances – have uttered appeared on that screen. At the moment I didn’t even understand what I was reading, and as soon as I did, I was horrified.”
He said the words “were not malicious” and not intentional, but acknowledged that what he said was “disgraceful and hurtful, whatever the intentions.”
“The unfortunate reality is that someone in my position can cause harm without ever meaning to do so…I take responsibility for my mistake. I apologize,” he wrote.
Gundy, who has been an assistant coach at Oklahoma since 1999, said he is stepping down because the team “doesn’t deserve to be distracted by matters off the field.”
Oklahoma football coach Brent Venables, who is in his first year leading the team, said he accepted Gundy’s resignation.
“In coaching and in life we are all responsible for our actions and the resulting results,” Venables said in a statement. “As leaders of this program, it is important that we hold ourselves to the highest standards when modeling for our players the type of men we want them to become.”
Neither Gundy, Venables nor the school elaborated on what the word was.
Some former players spoke out in defense of Gundy, including Cincinnati Bengals running back and former Sooners star Joe Mixon. He said that Gundy “is not racist in any way nor does he have a racist bone in his body, mind or soul.”
“I know racists, I have witnessed both overt and subtle forms of racism and have known and detest even more actual racists. Coach Gundy is the furthest thing from these types of people,” he wrote in a statement.
The Sooners finished with an 11-2 record last season and defeated Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.