Art Briles was fired by Baylor University for cultivating a culture of misconduct which lacked accountability and contributed to a decrease in the well-being and safety of the Baylor University student body. That is to say he, or his employees, as well as the administration of Baylor University actively worked to cover up sexual assaults and other criminal misconduct by Baylor University football players. Pepper Hamilton, the law firm hired by Baylor University to conduct an external review of Baylor athletics, found “significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor’s football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of student-athlete misconduct.”
In his first television interview since his firing Briles told ESPN that he was sorry for what happened and pledged to do better in the future,
“I made mistakes. I did wrong, but I’m not doing this trying to make myself feel better for apologizing,” Briles told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi. “I understand I made some mistakes. There was some bad things that went on under my watch. I was the captain of this ship. The captain of the ship goes down with it.
“So, I understand that I made some mistakes, and for that I’m sorry. But I’m not trying to plead for people’s sympathy. I’m just stating that, ‘Hey, I made some mistakes. I was wrong. I’m sorry. I’m gonna learn. I’m gonna do better.”
In a way this is a step forward for Briles who to this point had refused to acknowledge he had done anything wrong and that if any misconduct had occurred at Baylor it was without his knowledge. He once stated, “I’ve been in it 38 years, and I’ve done, you know, lived the right way for 60 years of my life. I’ve never done anything illegal, immoral, unethical”. Any kind of acknowledgement of wrong-doing is a step forward. Especially as Briles expects to be coaching again next year.
Therein lies the problem. Briles’ statement to ESPN, in his first real interview, is his first time accepting any blame for what happened at Baylor. Only days after powerful sports agent Jimmy Sexton was hired by Briles to represent him. The timing just seems off. Art Briles suddenly had an epiphany regarding his culpability mere days after he hired a new agent to purportedly help him get a new job. Unless the epiphany came prior to the hiring of the agent and Briles wanted someone to help him craft his message. That might actually be worse. Or, Briles knew he was guilty all along, waited for the severity of coverage to die down and then chose the opening weekend of college football, when everyone is just excited for football, to give an interview wherein he expresses a guilty conscience and puts himself square in the middle of the college football conversation once again.
In any case this is some form of a public relations stunt and there is no reason to believe Art Briles is actually sorry for what happened at Baylor.