Earlier this year, Art Briles was dismissed as the head coach at Baylor in the midst of the sexual assault scandal that rocked both the football program and the Baptist university. Not long after, president Ken Starr followed the head coach out the door.
Briles embarrassingly began his redemption tour earlier this year with a tone-deaf interview that was overwhelmingly panned. Starr, in an interview during something called the Texas Tribune Festival Saturday, likely trumped that level of embarrassment in the eyes of many as the former president vociferously defended his former coach.
“I believe that Coach Briles is an honorable man who conducted an honorable program,” Starr said by way of the Austin American-Statesman.
At least two of Briles’ players were convicted of sexual assault committed while they were Bears football players. Several other players were accused of committing either sexual assault or violence — or both — while playing for Briles.
An outside review, the details of which have never been made public, accused the school of mishandling rape allegations and alleged that the football program, Briles and his coaching staff included, felt it was above the law.
In one of the lawsuits filed that stem from the rape allegations, one woman claimed that the school and the program were deliberately indifferent to her claims of rape. Despite the appearance of a cultural issue that was pervasive at the Waco school, Starr declined to concur.
“I disagree with the sense that there was a fundamental failure,” said Starr. “I love Title IX. It has been an instrument of great, great reform … [but] the pendulum has swung much too far in one direction. …
“I’m going to resist the issue, or the characterization, that there was an endemic problem. Is there in fact a cultural insensitivity to issues of interpersonal violence? That was not the case at Baylor and is still not the case at Baylor.”
You know that feeling when you’re absolutely positive you should stop talking but simply can’t? When you have the right to remain silent but not the ability? Yeah, that.