I was reading about Game of Thrones when I heard the Facebook Messenger ding on my iPhone. I look at it and I see that my boss, Robert Cobb, has messaged me.
Rob: Got a special assignment for you.
Rob: Need you to rip Baylor a
Rob wouldn’t tell me the specifics, he said to check it out for myself. So I did, and I find this current article about the former Penn State linebacker Matthew Bruhle becoming coach and I’m wondering, ‘What’s going on here? Rob wants me to cover this?’ Thankfully, I do a little more searching and then I find this on Yahoo by Sam Cooper entitled:
“New lawsuit alleges 52 rapes by Baylor players between 2011 and 2014.”
Last October in the Wall Street Journal, Baylor said that 17 sexual or domestic assault cases surrounding 19 different football players happened. That’s one-third of the number they’re accused of now.
No…No…Oh my God…
I didn’t write this for a while because a journalist shouldn’t write when they are angry. No, scratch that. More like enraged; that’s the better description. Anger can be controlled and kept out of the article, but not rage. Furthermore, I had research to do. Being a sports journalist, one learns to be part statistician, part economist, part psychologist, and part lawyer if they want to be as informed as possible. It was time to put on my cynical lawyer cap and read the lawsuit.
It read like a script I’d read before. It’s a bit of the same ole story with all respect to the victims (they are the main difference). A sports team/program [Baylor football] is awful. Just awful. You go to the games to have an excuse to drink and be a social alcoholic. Money is low, the talent cupboard is almost empty, there’s no excitement on campus surrounding the team, and there’s no reason to get excited.
Enter new coach [Art Briles]. He’s a pretty savvy smart dude, but he’s got a mega challenge. Recruiting isn’t like a professional draft, he has to sell the school [Baylor] in order to get the talent to build a better team. Teams like Saban’s Alabama don’t have that problem. Saban’s only won four national title rings in about nine years. That’s the only reason an athlete could need to join Saban. Plus Alabama is a great university.
Baylor was a great university, but the fact that as the suit states: “BAYLOR football was comparatively one of the worst, if not the worst, team in the Big 12 Southern Conference. It finished in last place in 13 of 14 consecutive seasons.”
Yeah…That’s a reason to skip the university tour. So Briles, in order to keep his job, is doing whatever he can to get players. It is in the desperate times, not the easy ones, where our true moral core is tested and we find out just how far we’re willing to go, and what rules of ethics we can bend.
The thing about Baylor is that it is halfway between Dallas and Austin and the city has 130k+ living there. You have everything you could need in Waco and a short drive to anything you’d need that isn’t in Waco. Texas is a very friendly state and it loves its football.
Briles sold that and then went over the line by selling the women. The lawsuit contends:
“Central to their recruiting efforts, BAYLOR football coaching staff implemented a “Show em a good time”1 policy which permitted members of the BAYLOR football team to engage in unrestricted behavior with no consequences including but not limited to:
a. Players arranging for women, alcohol and illegal drugs for parties when recruits were in town;
b. Paying for and escorting underage recruits to bars and strip clubs; and
c. Paying for off-campus football parties (which repeatedly resulted in gang rape of women by the athletes).
Not only were BAYLOR’s football coaching staff instrumental in actively implementing these recruiting policies and practices, they also encouraged them. Assistant Coach Kendall Briles, while recruiting one Dallas area high school athlete stated, ‘Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at BAYLOR and they LOVE football players.'”
In a world that has a “black and white” law and a reality that’s “grey” and subjective, the lines are easily blurred. ‘Boys will be boys,” isn’t politically correct to say so I won’t say it, but more so because it’s just not true in my experience. I’ve covered my own peer group and the next set of collegiate students over the last 4-5 years and this is the truth. The girls are just as party crazy as the guys. They play beer pong, they take shots, smoke pot, do stronger more dangerous stuff, and they have lots and lots of sex.
It’s more like “Early 20s will have their funsies” and I’ve never seen anything nonconsensual. In fact, in my experience, the athletes are there with their girlfriends and they go home together to have sex. Now, you can argue that there’s not much morally wrong with having a party and having consensual wild sex. In fact, for a lot of guys, it’s a fantasy come true.
Grown men coaches know this and I refuse to name names, but in my time in the states of Utah and Texas, I’ve found that most coaches just stay out of their players’ personal lives. What they don’t know, they don’t have to report. If the player does his job on the field, completes his homework assignments, then hasn’t he earned a right to privacy?
Maybe that’s right. Maybe that’s wrong. What I do know is that while Art Briles is not the players’ father, he damn sure isn’t supposed to be a free pimp for them either. The comments about white women alone are inappropriate in that particular contest because while sex does sell (just look at the porn industry), you can’t dangle a young college student as if she’s a carrot in front of a horse. It’s certainly one thing for say a basketball coach to quip, “Oh and you should see the women in Texas,” and give a wolf whistle. It’s an entire other to arrange sexual encounters as if you’re a king in an actual episode of Game of Thrones.
Due to length restrictions, the rest of the lawsuit is here:
However, the main point is this: What makes this grotesque and evil is the lack of consent and the objectification of women. That’s the difference between these rapists and guys who are having fun. The rapists don’t see the woman as an equal, but as something to “score,” and Baylor’s football department was right there rooting them to the endzone as if they were playing in a bowl game.
From both a legal and personal standpoint, I can say that if this lawsuit’s allegations are true, then Baylor has managed to leapfrog Penn State University on the reprehensible chart. Congratulations my friends, you’ve just completed Mission Impossible without Tom Cruise’s help.
Satire aside, I’m quite serious because beyond the extra horror factor of what happened to children at Penn State, Baylor has dwarfed Penn State’s breaches of conduct. At Penn State, there was a single pedophile named Jerry Sandusky who was quite skilled as a defensive coordinator. Sandusky was discovered in flagrante by an assistant coach. That coach decided to go to Joe Paterno and not the cops. Paterno decided to cover up these crimes along with the complicity of a select few others. This was a skeleton that was uncovered about five or so years ago.
The Penn State men were guilty of cowardice, placing selfish desires about the welfare of children, and it is unforgivable in my eyes. However, it was kept between a very select few people.
If the allegations are true, then the entire coaching staff, who now have jobs elsewhere, are culpable for a variety of charges as they helped arrange sexual liasions (who knows what’s consensual there) for recruits on trips in addition to who knows what else.
Don’t forget, this is all from one testimony from one witness. We have no idea as to what happened that she didn’t know about or how far this may go. We’re still watching this horror movie and waiting for the next whatever to pop up.
As to what happens next, the lawsuit will be addressed, a subsequent investigation is probably launched, and testimonies will be transcripted. However, the odds of significant punishment are low, something I write about in the coming week, but let’s understand this. The validity of these claims is up in the air.. I can see them being false because it can easily be a legal tactic that forces Baylor to settle to settle with Elizabeth Doe to avoid bad press and spare the cost of a trial.
I can also definitely see them as being true because players like Tre’Von Armstead, Shamycheal Chapman and Shawn Oakman have faced other accusations, and Oakman particularly is potentially facing prison time in a separate similar allegation. The entire NFL passed on Shawn Oakman in the draft. He didn’t even get an undrafted free agent contract. Every indicator says there’s a lot of truth in Elizabeth Doe’s claims at the minimum.
But what is definitely true is that this scandal at Baylor is far from over and will never be forgotten.