Former Baylor coach Art Briles was remorseful and said he takes responsibility for the football program’s poor handling of sexual assault allegations involving players in a scandal that cost him his job.
Briles made his comments during an ESPN interview that was televised during the network’s College GameDay show Saturday morning.
Briles was fired on May 26 after the Pepper Hamilton report revealed that he mishandled sexual assault issues in the football program.
“There were some bad things that happened under my watch,” Briles said. “And for that, I’m sorry. I was wrong. I’m going to learn. I’m going to get better.”
He said he understood why the victims in Baylor’s sexual assault scandal would be upset with the way he handled issues involving his players. He apologized to the victims.
“I’d tell them I’m extremely sorry,” Briles said. “It just appalls me that somebody could victimize another human being. And there’s no place in society for it. And I’ve never condoned it and never will and never put up with it.
“These players are part of our program and representatives of our program. And when they do wrong, then it reflects on me and the university. So I do feel responsibility.”
But when asked about individual player incidents, Briles often said his football staff made decisions in which he was not personally involved or that he had been forced to defer to actions taken by Baylor administrators.
Briles also blamed policies, procedures and lack of training for how certain incidents were handled. However, he said he was aware of major issues.
“The way the chain usually works is the head coach is last to know,” Briles sai. “Head coaches are sometimes protected, in certain instances, from minor issues. Now major issues I was always made aware of.”
The Pepper Hamilton report said that Baylor’s failure to adequately respond to reports of sexual assault committed by football players had posed “a risk to campus safety” in some instances. Briles said he disagreed with that statement.
“I would never allow that to ever happen under my watch,” Briles said. “If I felt like somebody on our team was a threat to the student population, I mean, that just wouldn’t happen. Where they’re getting that information or what their facts are to have that, I don’t know.”
Briles said he is going to do “everything within my power to hopefully get the opportunity to coach again.” He also said he lost more than his job at Baylor.
“I lost some of my soul, quite honestly,” he said. “I always live my life for other people, people who love me and respect me. When that gets damaged that hurts.”
When asked what the Briles name means, he said, “It means honor, integrity, passion and care. It means it to me.”
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