The play should have been dead from the jump for Chuba Hubbard.

The Canadian running back collected the handoff to his left, but immediately felt the pressure of the Iowa State defence as he cut back to the middle of the field. With defenders in pursuit all around him, Hubbard kept his balance through arm tackles to break away for a long, go-ahead touchdown. At Oklahoma State University, Hubbard has made the spectacular something of a routine.

The Edmonton native was college football’s leading rusher last season and has long established himself as a top NFL prospect. On the field, Hubbard has made a reputation out of running away from defenders. Off it, he does not run away from the responsibility that comes with his platform.

Before the season even began, Hubbard was in the spotlight. Hubbard tweeted in June that he would not play for Oklahoma State until things at the university changed after a picture surfaced on social media of head coach Mike Gundy wearing a One America News (OAN) Network shirt. OAN—which is considered to be a far-right news organization—has been critical of the Black Lives Matter movement this year, with one of its anchors describing it as a "criminal front group."

Hubbard using his platform as a college athlete came as something of a surprise for those familiar with the imbalanced dynamic between football programs and their players. It was an empowering moment for one of college football’s brightest stars, and a promising development for the future of college athlete autonomy.

“Everything that happened over the summertime with COVID, with me and coach, I just feel like it made our program better. It made us all better people, including myself. In the end, whether some bad stuff came from it, a lot of good things came from it also,” Hubbard told Complex.

It did not take Gundy or the university long to respond to Hubbard’s statement. Gundy apologized for his perceived support of the network and Oklahoma State launched a ‘Diversity and Inclusion Council’ this fall.

"I didn't know some of the stances they [OAN] had taken," Gundy said in an interview with ESPN. "I didn't know that. But then you look at it and say, 'OK, I was a dumbass.' I put the shirt on, not knowing enough about the shirt."

The 21-year-old Hubbard has come a long way from Bev Facey Community High School in Sherwood Park, Alberta—where he played on gameday in front of crowds of just friends and family.

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