Baylor Assistant Coaches Release Statement Defending Former HC Art Briles

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Members of the Baylor University football staff under former head coach Art Briles released a statement in his defense Friday night concerning allegations he didn’t report a sexual assault involving members of the Bears football team.   

Kendal Briles, the former coach’s son and the team’s current offensive coordinator, posted a message on social media with the names of several assistants and their version of the events:

The response comes after Sharon Grigsby of the Dallas Morning News spoke with Baylor trustee David Harper, who stated Briles was told about at least one instance of rape involving football players and an athlete from another Baylor sports team.

“He was made aware of one of the allegations of a gang rape. At least one of them,” Harper said. “I can’t tell you if he knew or didn’t know about the others.”

When asked what Briles’ response was when questioned about that instance, Harper replied: “I remember something to the effect of ‘they should go to the police.'”

The Dallas Morning News report followed one from Brad Reagan of the Wall Street Journal that shared additional information about the independent investigation by the Pepper Hamilton law firm. It also referenced at least one instance of gang rape made known to Briles.

The Board of Regents announced Briles’ departure from the Baylor football program in May as part of sweeping leadership changes due to the school’s sexual abuse scandal. Ken Starr was also removed from the role of president at the time.

In September, Briles admitted to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi he made mistakes during his time at the school, though he didn’t go into exact detail:

I made mistakes. I did wrong, but I’m not doing this trying to make myself feel better for apologizing. 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.’

The Wall Street Journal report noted the Pepper Hamilton review found 19 players were linked to alleged sexual or domestic assaults involving 17 women since 2011.