It wasn’t the biggest story in football either of the last two weeks but Art Briles was almost hired not once, but twice. Last week Briles was linked with Lane Kiffin as an offensive analyst at Florida Atlantic University. The following day FAU and Kiffin announced that Briles was not affiliated with the team in any official capacity, likely due to the public outcry still surrounding his time at Baylor. On Sunday Briles was reportedly hired by the Hamilton Tiger Cats as an offensive assistant before the team publicly stated that Briles would not be considered.
Excusing the crimes committed at Baylor under the nose of Briles is ridiculous. While Briles might not have known much about what was happening, he should have. He simply didn’t bother with off field discipline and mentoring. He wanted to win football games and score points. His indifference to the plight of the many victims at Baylor will never be completely forgotten, nor should it, but it also shouldn’t be confused with actual malice. Briles, like Joe Paterno before him and Tracy Claeys after simply didn’t take charge of a situation that fell solidly under their purview. (In the case of Claeys he publicly sided with his players against the administration.) Punishment for each of those men was both justified and executed.
Part of the blame lies with Briles himself. He has, so far, refused to take any meaningful responsibility for the actions of his players. Without contrition there can be no forgiveness on the part of the public.
Briles will eventually coach again, though perhaps not as a head coach. He has a number of friends in the business that will vouch for him and there are too many boosters that value football success over sexual assault. 2017 feels like it is too soon for him to be publicly employed. Briles would be best served by consulting for 2017 and 2018 on an off the record basis where he only has to meet with specific coaches. Eventually he should be allowed back into coaching provided he has learned from his mistakes and grown.