Baylor Bears

Dopey Ken Starr calls Art Briles an ‘honorable man’

Former Baylor president Ken Starr

Everyday the folks at Baylor University continue to be proven correct in their decision to rid themselves of Art Briles and Ken Starr. Yes, Ken Starr ended up resigning, but my educated guess is that was just a technicality to save face.

In an interview to promote his new book, “Bear Country: The Baylor Story,” Starr went on record saying, “I continue to believe that Art Briles is an honorable man. There may have been ways — and he would have to speak to it — of improving accountability, but I do not believe Art Briles conducted himself in a dishonorable way.” 

I mean at what point do you throw your hands up and say, “are these guys really as clueless and lack as much self awareness as we think?”

The answer is clearly, yes.

IF Ken Starr doesn’t want to pile on Art Briles, that’s fine. He has a right to do that. He can dodge these kind of questions by simply giving answers such as, “I really want to get more details before making any assumptions on Art Briles’ character.” 

That would suffice. But to double down and call Art Briles an honorable man, based on the information we now have, is fairly delusional.

Remember, it was just a few weeks ago the texts from Briles were obtained by the Dallas Morning News, and included the following gems.

On September 20, 2013, after a player was arrested for assault and threatening to kill a non-athlete, a football operations staff official tried to talk the victim out of pressing criminal charges. Meanwhile, Coach Briles texted Athletics Director Ian McCaw: “Just talked to [the player] – he said Waco PD was there – said they were going to keep it quiet – Wasn’t a set up deal… I’ll get shill (Shillinglaw) to ck on Sibley (local attorney Jonathan Sibley).” Athletics Director Ian McCaw replied: “That would be great if they kept it quiet!”

On February 11, 2013, an assistant coach notified Coach Briles of a claim by afemale student-athlete that a football player brandished a gun at her. CoachBriles responded: “what a fool – she reporting to authorities” The assistantcoach texted back: “She’s acting traumatized … Trying to talk her calm now…Doesn’t seem to want to report though.” Coach Briles texted: “U gonna talk to[the player].” The assistant coach concluded: “Yes sir, just did. Caught him onthe way to class… Squeezed him pretty good.” The matter was never reported to Judicial Affairs.

On May 14, 2014, after Coach Briles learned from an assistant coach that a player had been caught selling drugs, he texted: “I’m hoping it will take care of itself – if not we can discuss best way to move on it.” The offense was never reported to Judicial Affairs and Coach Briles arranged for the player to transfer to another school. The assistant coach texted: “Him just hanging around Waco scares me. [Another school] will take him. Knows baggage.”

Is Art Briles the worst human being to ever walk the planet? Hell no. But based on what we know and the release of these text messages, would I sit here and call him an honorable man? Once again… hell no.

He clearly put winning football games ahead of the safety of students on and off campus on far too many occasions. He’s not the first college football coach to do this and won’t be the last. Many will bring up Bob Stoops and Joe Mixon. But two wrongs, or several wrongs, will never make a right. I was critical of Stoops’ handling of Mixon, but there have been no cover ups regarding domestic abuse, drug dealing and drug usage.

In regards to these text messages, Ken Starr went on to say, “However, we don’t have all the facts. We have these email and text messages (made public through a legal filing by regents earlier this year), and I don’t know how to assess them. I’ve always been of the view that you need to have all the facts and then you assess them. So it would be my hope that we have all the facts because we need to have transparency. We need to have truth out there so we can come to informed judgments.”

This is what Briles has used in his defense, claiming that the texts were not put in context of the entire conversation. Frankly, please find me any plausible scenario where Briles’ words/texts can be misconstrued and really be one of positivity and protection, rather than cover up.

Ken Starr may really believe Briles is an “honorable man”. He knows Briles much better than most of us. But his comments, based on the facts and information that have been unvieled in recent months scream of tone deafness, something that has beleaguered Baylor in the past.

Thank goodness for the University they are on to bigger and better things behind the guidance of great people like President Garland, AD Mack Rhoades, and football coach Matt Rhule.

Now if only the new faces could keep the former faces from putting the proverbial foot in the mouth…

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