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Petition with more than 8,000 signatures urges OU to rehire Cale Gundy

© Provided by KOKH – Oklahoma City

A petition with more than 8,000 signatures is urging the University of Oklahoma to rehire assistant coach Cale Gundy.

Gundy, who had been with the program as an assistant since 1999, resigned Sunday after using offensive language during a film session last week.

In a tweet announcing his resignation, Gundy said he noticed a player was distracted while he was supposed to be taking notes, so he picked up the athlete's iPad and read the words on the screen aloud.

He acknowledged that he said a word that he "should never — under any circumstance — have uttered," and said he was "horrified" when he realized what he had done.

"What I said was not malicious; it wasn't even intentional," Gundy said. "Still, I am mature enough to know that the word I said was shameful and hurtful, no matter what my intentions."

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables said in a statement that Gundy's decision to resign was the right one.

"Coach Gundy resigned from the program because he knows what he did was wrong. He chose to read aloud to his players, not once but multiple times, a racially charged word that is objectionable to everyone, and does not reflect the attitude and values of our university or our football program," Venebles said. "This is not acceptable. Period. Coach Gundy did the right thing in resigning. He knows our goals for excellence and that coaches have special responsibilities to set an example. He also knows that, while he will always be a part of the OU family, that his words affected many of us and did not represent the principles of our university. Again, his resignation was the right thing to do, and we will move forward positively."

Several people with ties to the Sooners have come out supporting Gundy, including former NFL running back Adrian Peterson and current Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon.

"I want you to know that I support you as you go through (what) I can only imagine as being one of the toughest situations you’ve had to deal with in your life,” Peterson said in a tweet. “I know you not only as Coach Gundy, but also the man, husband, and father. I’ll always have nothing but love and respect for you!"

Added Mixon: "I know racists. I have witnessed both obvious and discreet forms of racism and have known and detested even more actual racists. Coach Gundy is the farthest thing from this type of person. I spent every day for the 1,000 days I was in Norman with him. And I never saw anything that would lead anyone to believe this or think this... I know this about Coach, if he was admonishing a student-athlete for any reason, it was because he was trying to help that athlete be a better person, player, teammate, and student-athlete of OU.

The petition was started by a fan named Cale Marler.

A message with the petition read, "Cale Gundy has been a part of OU Football for more than three decades. He's given more than half of his life to the program and positively impacted hundreds of student-athletes. He has been a man of high moral character in his position as a coach and every assessment by those who know him are positive. To destroy a man over a mistake for which he is obviously contrite and had no malicious intent, to begin with, is unconscionable. We urge the administration at the University of Oklahoma to immediately rehire him."

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