Carpenter Claims OSU's Coach Fired Him For Wearing Rival's T-Shirt
Oklahoma State Cowboys coach Mike Gundy is a passionate man. Since taking the reins of the 8th-ranked football team in the country, he has led it through nine-win consecutive seasons in 2008 and 2009 and a record 11-2 win last year. But Gundy still thinks the team needs to work on its defense, and is setting a personal example, allegedly firing his carpenter for simply showing up to work in an Oklahoma Sooner baseball tee.
The Oklahoma Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners have a longstanding rivalry known as the Bedlam Series. Bedlam means "noisy uproar and confusion," which is exactly what happened here.
Last Thursday, Brent Loveland filed a breach-of-contract suit against Gundy and his wife Kristen for damages in excess of $10,000, the Tulsa World reported. In February, Gundy hired Loveland in a verbal contract to perform trim installation on his new house in Stillwater. When Loveland showed up for the first day on March 21, he was wearing the logo of Oklahoma University.
Loveland claimed he dressed in the dark.
Gundy did not take well to Loveland's sartorial choice. According to Loveland, Gundy confronted him and said, "How dare you come into my house and offend my wife?" When Loveland asked what he meant, Gundy shot back, "That [expletive] shirt you have on." He then allegedly told Loveland to "pack his [expletive] and get off [his] property."
This kind of impassioned outburst is not totally out-of-character for the former OS star quarterback. In a postgame interview in 2007, Gundy railed on a local columnist in the Daily Oklahoman for writing a piece critical of one of his players.
"That article had to have been written by a person that doesn't have a child," he shouted. "And has never had a child that had his heart broken and come home upset and had to deal with a child when he is upset."
He called the newspaper "garbage" and "the editor who let it come out is garbage."
This time, however, Gundy's fervent defense of his team could cost him real cash.
Loveland claims that he turned down a number of other construction jobs to work on Gundy's estate, losing more than $30,000 in potential income from the debacle.
In a statement released by Gundy's attorney, Willie Baker, an Oklahoma State graduate himself, Gundy is quoted as saying, "While I cannot discuss the specifics of pending litigation, I deny the allegations being made and welcome the opportunity to fully resolve the matter."
Loveland's lawyer, Edward White, insists this is no rivalry taken from the field to the courts. "I'm an OSU guy, so this is not a vendetta," he told the Stillwater News-Press. "This is simply a gentleman who's a small-business owner. He depends on his work for his livelihood and he didn't get paid for a job where he thinks he was unreasonably terminated."
If Gundy's loses the case, at least his bank account can handle the hit. His seven-year contract with Oklahoma State is worth $15.7 million.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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