Baylor simply doesn’t get it, and I don’t know that they ever will.
Former Bears defensive lineman Shawn Oakman was indicted in July on one felony count for allegedly sexually assaulting a BU student three months earlier. Monday, interim head coach Jim Grobe, hired as a direct result of the sexual assault scandal that led to his predecessor being fired, claimed that he had no idea who Oakman was after reports surfaced that the player who was a pariah to the NFL in going undrafted was inexplicably allowed in the Bears’ visiting locker room this past Saturday at Rice.
A short time later, the tone deafness of the football program continued as Bears’ starting quarterback Seth Russell very publicly defended Oakman.
Here’s exactly what Baylor QB Seth Russell said about Shawn Oakman, who was in the locker room after the Rice win. pic.twitter.com/Z6p0tQHNXg
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) September 19, 2016
Obviously, innocent until proven guilty, which is something that gets lost sometimes. A lot of times, actually. That said…
Bears, when you’re knee-deep in one of the worst sexual-assault scandals in college football history, don’t allow a player who’s under indictment for sexual assault into your locker room. And, when you’re one of the most visible members of the football program, don’t publicly describe a man under indictment for rape as “a great guy” who you’re “not gonna hold anything against.”
The size of the blinders being worn in and around the football program in Waco is staggering. How tone-deaf all are post-scandal is beyond disturbing — and eye-opening when it, still, comes to the state of BU football.
You can change the head coach, athletic director and president, but, until what walks, talks and smells like an ingrained culture changes, absolutely nothing will change.
Of note: realizing the damage that had been done Monday, the university released a statement late last night that attempted to save some sort of face.
Baylor did not invite Shawn Oakman onto the field or into the locker room. He made his way there after the game but did not address the team. As indicated earlier today, Coach Grobe did not recognize that Oakman was in the locker room area as Coach gave his post-game address. Oakman spoke personally with a few former teammates and left the stadium. Oakman is not permitted in Baylor-owned facilities nor in the locker room at future away games.
Keeping with the football program’s and university’s responses to previous rape allegations, that statement’s simply too little, too late.