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'It's something I really believed in': Cade Cunningham alludes his support for BLM

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Image Taken at Orange Power Studios, Thursday, July 2, 2020, Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK. Courtney Bay/OSU Athletics

When Oklahoma State was slapped with consequential Level I sanctions, which include a gruesome postseason ban OSU fans feared they would lose prized No. 1 recruit, Cade Cunningham.

So naturally, all eyes fell on Cunningham’s twitter. Everyone waited anxiously for any sort of indication as to what he would do with his basketball career.

What did he post?

A Tweet that read “Black Lives Matter!”

“I knew that was the perfect time to do it because it’s something that I really believed in,” Cunningham said. “The NCAA sanctions had just came down, and I knew everybody was looking at my page ready for anything. I feel like that was the best time for me to let my views on things be known. I feel like it was a good move for me.”

The events in Minnesota have re-ignited the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which screams for equality for all — regardless of skin color.

For Cunningham, who said the importance of using a platform to speak on these issues is huge, also commented on how the OSU football team handled the Mike Gundy OAN T-shirt debacle.

When a picture of the OSU football coach wearing an OAN T-shirt surfaced on Twitter on June 15, it started — what felt like — a rampage. OAN or One America News Network is a far-right news organization that many have criticized for its controversial ideologies, which included calling the BLM movement a “farce.”

So when Gundy wore that shirt, it started a trickle-down effect that led to star running back Chuba Hubbard and many others threatening to boycott the program, which eventually led to some concerning tweets from former players insinuating that Gundy is racist.

While the racist connotation was later proven as untrue, there were some issues in the program. And it was all that was sparked by Hubbard’s initial tweet of discontent with how things were run.

“I’m super happy with how Chuba Hubbard has been handling his situation,” Cunningham said. “And how the football program is doing their thing right now. I think everything is going the right direction at Oklahoma State."

The whole event fueled much national debate, but Hubbard using his platform led to genuine change in the football program. OSU Athletics launched a Diversity and Inclusion Council about a week after the whole incident.

While change occurred at OSU, there’s obviously still much racism and discrimination going on across the country, which makes using platforms that much more vital.

OSU basketball coach Mike Boynton certainly thinks so.

“Coach Boynton is super transparent,” Cunningham said. “He wants us to speak our minds and showcase what our viewpoints are. He also does not hide the fact that there are consequences behind — if you say the wrong thing, there will be negative feedback. Just be smart with your words and be educated on what you’re speaking on.

“Hearing that from him, as the leader of our program, I think that’s big because it doesn’t make us shy away from who we are or anything. We get to be who we want to be and lead with our platform.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com