HAMILTON — Amongst my e mail correspondence immediately got here this: “(Artwork) Briles had nothing to do with what went on at Baylor. Not one single factor.” It concluded that the CFL and other people like me “will sooner or later seem like idiots.”
This isn’t a very shocking response from a reader to a narrative such because the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ temporary employment of the previous Baylor College soccer coach, fraught as it’s with allegations that haven’t been examined in court docket.
What’s shocking is that the Ticats nonetheless appear to really feel that manner themselves.
Head coach June Jones spoke to a bunch of reporters at Tim Hortons Area on Tuesday, when he was initially alleged to be introducing Briles as his new assistant coach, earlier than that concept was squelched by a 12-hour blast of controversy. Jones, a former NFL and U.S. faculty coach who was given the Hamilton job late final week, mentioned he and Briles have been mates for 40 years. Jones mentioned he was about “serving to individuals.” And he mentioned that this — the hiring and compelled un-hiring — “was actually an emotional factor for me.”
After which he mentioned he didn’t need to discuss anymore about it. Soccer questions solely, please.
Jones had determined to call a brand new beginning quarterback. Nobody cared. It takes some doing to get a bunch of media members to be unconcerned with a quarterback controversy.
Requested if he thought Briles — who was fired by Baylor final yr the varsity mentioned he had, amongst different issues, failed “to establish and reply to a sample of sexual violence by a soccer participant” and “didn’t take acceptable motion” in response to stories of a gang rape carried out by gamers on his group — had been handled unfairly, Jones stopped wanting saying sure, however solely simply.
“I’ve my very own opinion on the entire thing, however it’s meaningless proper now,” Jones mentioned. However he was completely satisfied to speak soccer. There was, notably, not one try to apologize for the preliminary choice to rent Briles.
This got here a number of hours after Tiger-Cats chief govt Scott Mitchell did some media rounds on Tuesday, and was contrite, however solely to some extent. Talking to Toronto’s Sportsnet 590 radio station, he mentioned the Ticats “underestimated the tsunami of negativity that was going to occur” because of the hiring. Later, chatting with reporters at Tim Hortons Area, Mitchell mentioned they reversed course on Briles when it grew to become clear that “what was being contemplated was completely unacceptable to most of the people.” And likewise to “the media.”
After saying once more that the general public discovered it unacceptable, Mitchell allowed that “it was a poor choice that shouldn’t have been made.”
Once more, no apology. Solely Tiger-Cats proprietor Bob Younger provided a kind of, saying in a ready assertion, “We need to apologize to our followers, company companions and the Canadian Soccer League.”
So, in sum, the Tiger-Cats are sorry for making a choice to rent somebody who left his final job in the midst of an enormous sexual assault scandal as a result of they didn’t understand the general public could be fairly so outraged about it.
This stays an totally baffling clarification for what occurred. Except for being “soccer myopic,” which Mitchell additionally copped to, the choice to usher in Briles solely begins to make a little bit of sense in case you squint at it a sure manner: if Hamilton administration believes that he had been unfairly railroaded at Baylor. There’s definitely proof that that is what they have been pondering. After acknowledging that the “circumstances of what occurred down there are horrific,” Mitchell mentioned, “I feel it is going to play itself out as to what duty, particularly, Artwork Briles had.” In his earlier radio feedback, Mitchell mentioned “there’s the reality about what occurred, and there’s what’s on the market within the media.” Coupled with Jones’ “personal opinion on the entire thing,” the conclusion seems just like the group thought that Briles was some type of scapegoat, and they also, and his outdated pal, threw him a lifeline.
And that is the place it’s truthful to marvel if Ticats administration has realized something right here, apart from that information does, in reality, journey throughout worldwide borders. Artwork Briles isn’t in soccer exile as a result of he made a few dumb errors. He was, on the very least, on the head of a soccer program that didn’t take sure accusations of sexual violence significantly, and allegedly a lot worse than that. Head soccer coaches at huge U.S. faculties are all highly effective, normally paid greater than college presidents and sometimes rather more than some other public servant of their state. And whereas this scandal was unfolding in his program, over a few years, Briles was, in his estimation, an unwitting rube.
It’s not that Briles doesn’t deserve a second probability as a result of the general public will probably be offended, it’s that public was proper to be offended. The Tiger-Cats had no enterprise providing somebody picture rehabilitation simply because they made his pal head coach 5 days in the past.
It’s odd that the Hamilton entrance workplace stays unclear on that. It will play itself out, however fairly presumably not in the way in which Scott Mitchell imagines.
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