Mike Gundy tried to make a point in his latest foot-in-mouth fiasco. He missed the mark on that too.

Mike Gundy's comments concerning Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon's arrest on suspicion of DUI had to be some of the dumbest ever issued by a major college football coach. And this is a competitive category.

That doesn’t mean he wasn’t trying to raise an interesting argument about the responsibility of college head coaches these days, it’s just when you imply on ESPN that you yourself have driven under the influence “1,000 times,” whatever point you were trying to make is justifiably lost.

We'll get to all that, but simply as a strategic matter, Gundy, who is entering his 20th season as the Cowboys head coach and is 16 years removed from his epic "I'm a man, I'm 40" rant, arrived at Big 12 media days completely unprepared for a predictable inquiry.

Gordon, 20, was arrested late last month after Oklahoma Highway Patrol said he was speeding and swerving out in and out of traffic lanes. Open alcohol containers were found in his vehicle and police allege Gordon subsequently blew a 0.11 and a 0.10 on the breathalyzer.

Gundy knew he was going to be asked about it, let alone about his decision to not suspend the Heisman Trophy candidate.

Yet his answer was casual, flippant and self-centered rather than conveying the serious nature of the charge. In doing so, he turned what was a lightly covered national story — Gordon’s arrest — into a huge headline and made it worse for everyone.

“College football has changed and we all know,” Gundy started. “We can say these guys aren’t employees, but they’re really employees. These guys get paid a lot of money, which is fine. But there needs to be a side to what they do that they have to be able to, for lack of a better term, face the music and own up to things.

“When I looked at it, I thought, ‘OK, I’m gonna be real honest with myself first, and then make the best decision for what I think is good for Ollie, our university and our team,’” he continued. “... So I looked it up on my phone, ‘What would be the legal limit?’ In Oklahoma, it’s 0.08, and Ollie was 0.1. So I looked it up, and it was based on body weight — not to get into the legal side of it.

“But I thought, ‘Really, two or three beers, or four?’ I’m not justifying what Ollie did. I’m telling you what decision I made. I thought, ‘I’ve probably done that 1,000 times in my life.’ Which is fine. So I got lucky. People get lucky. Ollie made a decision that he wished he could’ve done better.

“But when I talked to Ollie, I told him, ‘You’re lucky.’ You got out light because you make a lot of money to play football. Back in the day, being able to cover the cost of what he’s going to go through would be difficult for a college player. It’s not for him.”

Gundy later tried to clarify that when he spoke about doing that "1,000 times in my life," he meant that to mean, "We are all guilty of making bad decisions. It was not a reference to something specific."

Eh, it certainly sounded like something specific, not a general “bad decision.” Either way, the entire answer was unserious, dismissive and insulting, especially to the many victims of drunk driving. It’s a terrible image to present.

Earned or not, we will give Gundy the benefit of the doubt that he isn’t in favor of or unconcerned about drunk driving. We can hope at least for that much.

Gundy’s overall point, buried in the stupidity, appears to be that modern college coaches shouldn’t bear the responsibility of the actions of their players because these players are adults who due to NIL rules are essentially well-paid professionals.

For example, if a Kansas City Chief gets arrested for DUI, no one is clamoring to know why Andy Reid hasn’t established the proper culture. Same if with a history professor and the dean.

Gundy seems to believe that he isn’t to be blamed for Gordon’s decisions and he isn’t even obligated to suspend him for any period of time because neither he nor the other players on the team should be impacted by what Gordon allegedly did.

On this Gundy is likely not alone among major college coaches.

Gundy joked — we think — that sitting Gordon for the season opener against South Dakota State would be something of a reward, not a penalty. “If there’s any punishment, it’s making him carry the ball 50 times in the first game,” Gundy said.

So, should the fact that Gordon is now being paid to play — rather than just tuition, room and board — absolve Oklahoma State and its coach from doing anything?

Perhaps, to a degree, things have changed. Gordon should be — and has been — the one to deal with the fallout. There is a lot that Gundy is conveniently ignoring though.

First off, in the NFL, a DUI conviction results in an automatic three-game suspension — including the loss of game checks. So it’s not like you can just do whatever you want.

Second, Gundy is making $7.5 million a year, which is likely 7-10 times what Gordon, the Cowboys' best player, is earning. Andy Reid isn’t making 10 times Patrick Mahomes' salary.

Third, the social contract between a professional team and the citizens of its home city — or a private employer and an employee — is different from the one between a college team and the college it represents.

Gundy has been afforded immense power, influence and fortune because of that relationship. Now he is pulling the “Don’t ask me, I just work here” bit?

College coaches might love to pass the buck on this because some bucks are now going to the players, but even filtering through Gundy’s clumsy argument, this is a massive stretch. He still bears a significant level of responsibility for what happens within his program.

That includes ridiculous and embarrassing answers at media day.

Comments on this article
On Air106.1 BLI - Long Island's #1 For All The Hits! Logo

The 106.1 BLI Insider Newsletter

mobile apps

Everything you love about wbli.com and more! Tap on any of the buttons below to download our app.

amazon alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!