Disgraced former Baylor Bears football coach Art Briles has not been one to totally own up to his mistakes.
Despite apologizing for overseeing dozens of players who committed alleged sexual assaults, Briles says he has been and should be exonerated of any wrongdoing.
Briles’ tone-deaf comments continued in an interview with the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron that ran on Sunday.
“I just want to coach football,” Briles said. “That's all I’m concerned with. It’s all I’ve ever done. I just want to coach football, it doesn’t matter what level. Football is football, and as far as what I want to accomplish, there’s really nothing there other than getting back on the field and working with coaches and players.”
There’s no doubting that Briles wanted to get back to leading a football team since he was ousted from Baylor in May 2016 following an independent investigation of the school’s handlings of sexual assaults. Landing a head coaching job with Mount Vernon High School in Texas gives him a sense of stability after finding it hard to get steady work for years.
But only being concerned with football is what got Briles in this situation in the first place. Putting the well-being of his team (and salary) above that of any other student at Baylor caused irreparable damage.
These comments recall what he said in his introduction at Mount Vernon: “You’ll make no bigger impact in this world than when you shape the lives of young people.”
No kidding coaches have the power to shape young people. Briles just happened to do a terrible job of that. That even dates back to his last stint coaching the high school ranks, when players also allegedly had issues with sexual assault.
Since his initial apology, Briles has changed his tune to say that he felt bad for the “systematic shortcomings at Baylor” rather than his ability to keep players in check over and over again. The way he talks, it feels like he’s a step away from saying that people are trying to just trying to make a buck off his name.
“I’m a football coach,” Briles said. “If you’re in the public eye, then you’re going to have people who are going to doubt you and maybe not want everything to work out for you personally and professionally. But if you know yourself and know your instincts and your integrity, then that’s all you can control. I know who I am, and that is a good starting place for me.”
For years, every school in America knew who Briles was too. But now he — and Mount Vernon by proxy — continues to dig a deeper hole for himself one comment at a time.
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