Disgraced former Baylor University football coach Art Briles would like you to know that he is a super great guy.
Sure, his program may have been a factory for sexual assault, with a lawsuit filed in January alleging at least 52 rapes committed by 31 Baylor football players from 2011-14.
But Briles wrote a letter about how it’s not his fault that his players were running what isn’t far from a sex trafficking ring on campus.
“There is an onslaught of information coming out in the press that is inaccurate, misleading and unfair to Baylor, its amazing students, its strong faculty, the administration and its athletic programs,” Briles wrote in his letter.
To his credit, Briles said that anyone hurt in any way “physically, sexually, emotionally or spiritually is tragic.” He also made sure everybody knows he will “do anything in my power to try and prevent that.”
Apparently, anything in his power falls well short of actually doing anything at all. It also falls far short of a meaningful apology for anything he has done. Maybe he could simply hush now and allow the program to move on from the dark cloud that is his presence hanging over the university.
As for the amazing students that attend Baylor, in November they lined up in masses to purchase shirts stamped with #CAB, which stands for Coach Art Briles. See, the student body is so great that they would rather win football games than start working on changing a culture that turned a blind eye to sexual assault.
Briles denied being involved in covering up any sexual assault while at Baylor, but text messages released by Baylor officials imply otherwise.
Even if Briles didn’t actively cover anything up, he clearly looked the other way when alerted to what was going on around him.
In September, Briles went on an apology tour and admitted to making some mistakes while at Baylor. The apology tour came across as a desperate attempt to regain some standing in order to coach again — something he told ESPN during the tour that he planned to do in 2017.
His recent letter undermines his apology by screaming loudly that he did nothing wrong.
“The key to growth for the school begins with full transparency, not selective messaging,” he wrote. “To participate, or worse yet, instigate such, is unfair to the victims, the accused, the programs and all of Baylor Nation.”
What is most unfair to the victims is that Briles operated a program that turned a blind eye to the actions of his players — not that some of Briles’ text messages were released by the university.
The letter is a train wreck, which is apparently the way the football program operated under Briles’ watch. It also serves as another reminder that sex crimes on college campuses and in collegiate athletics remains an issue.
Toward the end of his letter, he tells athletes at Baylor to “show discipline and morality on and off the field.” Too bad that wasn’t Briles’ approach with the athletes in his Baylor football program.
Until coaches like Briles start taking a stand against sexual violence before it happens — not as a reaction to punishment — events like those at Baylor will remain a dark spot on college athletics.