If you’re tuning in to the No. 19 Kansas vs. Oklahoma game this week, you may have noticed something about the Oklahoma Sooners. No, I’m not talking about the fact that they are the unranked team. And no, I’m not referring to the fact that the Sooners have a 3-3 record. Oklahoma has donned dark grey uniforms this week with red accents. Rather than having each player’s last name on the back, they all just say one word: Unity.
The idea for the jersey was decided upon by a group of student-athletes at OU. The design was picked to honor the first Black scholarship football player for the Sooners, Prentice Gautt. The message behind the chosen word “Unity” was the hope that it would recognize the importance of building relationships that together can lead to a better society, per OU officials. While not seen on the TV broadcast, it is reported that the uniforms also have “together” sewn into the collar.
While this message has a larger meaning than this game, this team and even the sport of football, it is hard not to connect the two with the season that OU is having. The team started 3-0, which aligns with what we are accustomed to seeing from the current Big 12 powerhouse. The Sooners then lost three games in a row, which is their worst losing streak in over two decades. They’ve seemed disjointed on both sides of the ball, and head coach Brent Venables seems to be struggling to unite the team to play a well-rounded game. While the team wants to honor Gautt, they are also hoping it provides a spark on Saturday that will see the Sooners avoid their worst seven-game start since 1998.