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Kevin Sherrington: Art Briles’ hiring at Grambling State is another example of sports’ obsession with second chances | Sports

DALLAS — Give Hue Jackson so much: At least Art Briles wasn’t his first choice to become offensive coordinator at Grambling State. Jackson, himself new to the program Eddie Robinson made famous, first hired Ted White, who soon left to be the Texans’ quarterbacks coach. Grambling officials apparently needed time to get used to Briles’ notion. A school spokesperson told a Louisiana newspaper this week that the rumors were not true and, furthermore, he would not comment on “fake hires.”

“Fake hire” is one way to characterize this, think about it.

Since leaving Baylor in 2016 after a series of sexual assaults rocked the football program, but not without a $15.1million settlement and a carefully crafted letter of recommendation, Briles has covered the card .

Hired and fired within 24 hours in Hamilton of the Canadian Football League.

A year as a football coach in Italy.

Two seasons at Mount Vernon High School (Texas), including a state semifinal.

Prior to the concert in East Texas, Jay Hopson hired Briles as Southern Miss’s offensive coordinator, or at least he thought he had, until the university president canceled it.

Hopson’s subsequent protest letter to his boss covered much of the debate over Briles’ future in coaching.

“I think he’s a man who deserves a second chance. He’s a man who seemed sincere [and] humble in his interview [and] personally, he has not committed any crime. He may not have been acting according to proper protocol, but that should be my job at Southern Miss! He was interviewing for an assistant position, although I think he will be a head coach at a major program in the near future.”

Hopson wrote that letter three years ago, and Briles still isn’t the head coach of a major program. Rumors circulate a lot. The “near future” is apparently not anytime soon.

The reason Briles didn’t find another head coaching job at a major program was pretty well summed up in the wake of the CFL fiasco. June Jones hired Briles one day in 2017, only for Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young to rescind the offer before the end of the day after a torrent of criticism, including from his own family.

In an interview with 3DownNation, a Canadian website that covers the CFL, Young was asked how a community-minded owner could hire a guy with Briles’ reputation.

“We got confused between the individual and the brand,” Young said, “and we have a responsibility ultimately to protect and grow our brand on behalf of our entire community and we haven’t.

“I can’t speak to Art Briles at all, but the fact that we thought the community could have forgiven him for the situation at Baylor was just incredibly naive of me.”

Frankly, it would be hard to get a better idea of ​​the thinking behind the movements of a sports organization. Young basically said that Briles wasn’t a bad recruit until community members told him, and his biggest regret was that he had no idea how they felt until what they cross the walls.

The gap between a sports program doing what is right and what it can tolerate in the name of winning has always been quite wide. Work around athletics long enough, like I did, and you can get used to it. Also, the sins of one program are not much different from another.

Baylor, however, was on a whole other level. Needless to rehash everything, but suffice it to know that two players were found guilty of rape – one on several counts – and another indicted.

Briles’ defenders, including the former university president and athletic director, argue that the football program has become the scapegoat for a larger problem on campus. Even if true, it hardly excuses the guilt of the football program.

Briles apologized for his part in the scandal in a 2016 interview with ESPN. When asked what he would say to victims of players he brought to campus, he replied, “I would tell them that I am extremely sorry. It revolts me that someone can victimize another human being. And there is no place for that in society. And I never tolerated it and I never will and I never will.

Then again, there’s mea culpas you give to the national media when you’d still like to get a job somewhere, and there’s texts to staff members and comments you make to a student’s coach. -athlete after she said she’d been raped by five Baylor football players.

“They’re bad guys,” Briles reportedly said while browsing through the list.

“Why was she with those guys?”

He didn’t look so dismayed then.

As for that “exemption” letter that Briles has? Legalese states that he never heard directly from a victim. He didn’t say he didn’t know.

For the record, I have no idea how many schools have considered hiring Briles in the last six years, but it’s more than you probably realize. A source once told me that the Texas Tech board was split between Briles and Dana Holgorsen before Kirby Hocutt confused everyone by hiring Matt Wells.

Having been washed in blood a long time ago, I believe in second chances. No better story than a tale of redemption. The problem is, they’re rarer than you might think, except in sports, where programs and organizations are always willing to forgive a coach or player no matter how bad the sin. If the sinner is good enough, of course.

© 2022 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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