Ex-Baylor Coach Art Briles Had a CFL Job…for About 10 Hours
Monday morning in a now-deleted tweet and press release, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced the decision to hire Art Briles as an Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coach. Former Hawaii Coach June Jones is the head man in Hamilton and spoke on Briles' behalf.
The press release was glowing and made no mention of the sexual assault scandal at Baylor that ended Briles' tenure there.
The response was swift and heavy from the public, which is why the hiring didn't last.
Here's Dr. Saturday, the college football expert from Yahoo! Sports, announcing and denouncing the Art Briles hire a mere 10 hours apart.
Scott Mitchell, the Tiger-Cats CEO, spoke on the situation, saying he knew full well about the Baylor scandal before reaching out to Art Briles.
"We were very well aware of it and it’s been a long deliberation internally, collecting information, talking to as many people as possible, quite frankly getting the facts about things straightened away," Mitchell said, and continued by talking about June Jones being a close friend of Briles: "The history is that June Jones and Art Briles have known each other for decades and June was very forthright about what the situation was and the more we contemplated it, deliberated over it."
Mitchell then defended the almost hiring by saying, "We just thought it was a very serious situation but we also felt that after talking to dozens of people, people we trust, people we admire, that Art Briles a is a good man that was caught in a very bad situation. Clearly, some serious mistakes were made along the way but we feel strongly that people deserve second chances and that’s what we’ve decided to do with Art Briles."
A good man, in a bad situation.
This interview took place before the eventual collapse of the hire, so Mitchell ends up looking even more tone deaf talking about his team's fans. "This is about giving someone a second chance and we’re committed to doing that. For every reaction that you’re getting from social media and media, there’s a tremendous amount of support behind the scenes for a tough decision," he said.
The Tiger-Cats CEO then doubled down that he thinks Briles is just a good dude in a bad situation. "I think a lot of people in this world, including myself, have made bad decisions and have regrets and I certainly feel strongly that in this case, Art Briles deserves a second opportunity," Mitchell said.
The interviewer then hits Mitchell right in the mouth, telling him it's been proven Briles and the football administration was responsible for a culture that covered up alleged sexual assaults. Mitchell confirms how out-of-the-loop he is by saying there is a "plethora of information" that hasn't been made public.
"We've done our due diligence from a legal perspective, we understand what the findings were and in many cases, those are different than what’s been discussed in the media." Mitchell said, adding: "I think everybody should understand we’ve made the decision that Art Briles deserves a second chance and we hope that we’ll get the support from our fans to give a guy a second chance as well."
Well, Scott Mitchell, no one understood the decision. Nobody supported the idea that Art Briles is being lied about in the public and the private truths just haven't come out. That ship has sailed. Art Briles systematically covered up corruption his entire career and it caught up with him and ended. It needs to stay over. He doesn't deserve a second shot at coaching.
The Tiger-Cats have issued a statement with the CFL. Here it is in its entirety: "Art Briles will no longer be joining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a coach. We came to this decision this evening following a lengthy discussion between the league and the Hamilton organization. We wish Mr. Briles all the best in his future endeavours."
What a weak statement, especially on the heels of Mitchell saying this was a weeks-long process to decide to hire Briles. This wasn't a lengthy discussion; it was an immediate decision based on immediate public outrage.
The original hire was a publicity move trying to drum up some business because the Tiger Cats are 0-8, the worst in the league. The "firing" was also a publicity move that was all about saving face.