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Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy apologizes for comments on coronavirus response

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The Cowboys coach said his first priority “will always be the student-athletes and doing what is best for the program and the university.”

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

After being heavily criticized on the local and national scale, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy apologized Saturday for comments he made last week during a teleconference in which he talked about the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has brought the sports world, including NCAA athletics, to a halt as people are practicing social distancing to flatten the curve and avoid spreading and contracting the virus. Gundy said he planned to have the Cowboys returned to the football building May 1 because he hopes tests for COVID-19 will be available to clear employees and players.

OSU athletic director Mike Holder declined to back Gundy’s timeline, saying in a statement: “May 1 seems a little ambitious.’’

Gundy’s comments, including calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” because it originated in China, were spread quickly on social media with the consensus he was willing to force players into a situation they might not be safe.

“I have been made aware that comments from my press conference have offended some,” Gundy’s statement read. “It was never my intention to offend anyone and I apologize. My first priority is and will always be the student-athletes and doing what is best for the program and the university.”