No Second Chance

One of the things I’m most proud about this show is that back in the day, I was told this show would never work in Canada. And it has. In a big, big way. Canadians have embraced the show and made it their own.

That said, if I’m being honest, I don’t talk about the CFL that much. So you know when I do bust out and start talking CFL and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in particular, either something really good happened or really bad happened. And for the Tiger-Cats this year, it’s been pretty bad. Really, really bad.

To start with, they’re 0-8. I know the CFL is a little different from the NFL, but I don’t think it’s so different that 0-8 is actually a good thing.

And then to make matters worse, they announced yesterday that they had hired Art Briles as an assistant coach. Yes, that Art Briles.

The one who was suspended with intent to terminate last year at Baylor after a serious investigation into the school and football programs handling of sexual assault and domestic violence allegations.

So….You could lose every game for three years and it wouldn’t be as bad as trying to hire Art Briles. And it’s not like it was some random person who did it. June Jones is now the head coach there. He should know better.

Just how dense and clueless do you have to be as an organization to hire Art Briles? I know you might get excited when you see his resume, but maybe you ask yourself the question, How is this coach with a 99-65 in college available? And if you don’t immediately know the answer, maybe fire up the old Google machine and see what it says about Arthur Ray Briles. There are literally books published about what happened at Baylor.

But it wasn’t a matter of ignorance. The Tiger-Cats were aware of it all. Team CEO Scott Mitchell told the Hamilton Spectator: “We just thought it was a very serious situation, but we also felt that after talking to dozens of people, people we trust, people we admire, that Art Briles is a good man that was caught in a very bad situation. Clearly, some serious mistakes were made along the way, but we feel strongly that people deserve second chances and that’s what we’ve decided to do with Art Briles.”

WAIT, WHAT? A good man that was caught in a very bad situation? We’re talking about the head coach, not a janitor in the football facility. He was the man running that situation. If you googled his name, you might find this piece from the Houston Chronicle that reads: Briles and [former athletic director Ian] McCaw allegedly discussed a gang rape that involved five football players. Rather than go through proper channels to report the incident, McCaw kept it in house and went to Briles and his staff. When he did, Coach Briles studied the names on the piece of paper. ‘Those are some bad dudes,’ Coach Briles told (an assistant) coach,” the document states. “ ’Why was she around those guys?’” 

That’s Briles reportedly looking at a list of his own players who were allegedly involved in a gang rape, saying that those are “some bad dudes” and then saying that the woman shouldn’t have been around them. DUDE, THEY WERE ON YOUR FOOTBALL TEAM. They weren’t some random, anonymous, horrible dudes that showed up in a police report. They were horrible dudes that were on your team, that you recruited. But your response was to blame her for her choice: blame her for hanging out with some bad dudes.

That’s a bad guy, recruiting really bad dudes and trying to cover up a really bad situation.  In the very least enabling a very bad situation. And that’s just one example. There are more.

And of course the backlash to the Tiger-Cats hiring of Briles was serious. And intense. As well it should be. And last night, the team released a joint statement with the CFL: “Art Briles will no longer be joining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a coach. We came to this decision this evening following a lengthy discussion between the league and the Hamilton organization. We wish Mr. Briles all the best in his future endeavours.” 

I’d give them credit for firing him after hiring him, but they still hired him and for at least a few hours, thought it was a good idea. And it wasn’t. It was a terrible idea. One of the all-time worse. So you’ve got that going for you, which is awful.

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