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The messages are heartbreaking to read.
A number of brave women?–?rape survivors from Baylor University?–?have reached out to me in the last couple of hours since former Baylor football coach Art Briles was hired to coach at Mount Vernon High School in East Texas.
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"Once again, winning matters more than our safety," one woman texted me on Friday night. "How can they keep doing this to us?"
Another one sent this: "I feel sick. He is going to be in charge of children. How are they letting this happen?"
I don't have the answers for these women.
I wish I did.
There's a lot wrong with the hiring of Briles?–?a man who turned his head when he was told that players on his team had sexually assaulted women. Baylor regents reported that 19 football players were accused of sexual assault or domestic violence between 2011-16. Another lawsuit filed alleges that 31 football players committed at least 52 acts of rape between 2011-14.
All under Briles' watch.
Now, this man is in charge of leading young men.
For everyone calling for second chances, please keep in mind that Briles has never shown any accountability or remorse and has repeatedly been dismissive of survivors. He hasn't earned a second chance because he's never atoned for the life-altering mistakes he made.
In fact, he's often painted as the victim, which is dismissive of and disrespectful to the actual victims.
Briles was always going to coach again. No one can argue the fact that he is a good football coach.
But winning football games shouldn't matter more than the safety of women at a school or in a community.
Mount Vernon ISD has made it clear that in their small town, winning games matters more than ethics.
Briles should have stuck with coaching in a pro league somewhere where he couldn't shape young men, where he couldn't be a role model or even a father figure to them.
He has made far too many moral mistakes to be in that position.
Briles didn't just make mistakes at Baylor. According to a report by Jessica Luther and Dan Solomon?–?who broke the first news of the Baylor scandal in 2015 in Texas Monthly – in Deadspin earlier this year, a former Stephenville student alleges that Briles played accused rapists in high school football games when he was the coach there.
In addition to knowing about sexual assault, there are reports and lawsuits that state Briles was aware that his players were using illegal substances and he didn't take proper action to discipline them for that either.
Briles has a history and a pattern that should not be ignored.
Sadly, Mount Vernon ISD decided to overlook his past and hire him anyway.
The district released a statement about his hiring. It was ignorant and tone-deaf.
It didn't mention his time at Baylor at all. It also stated that Briles "brings with him a wealth of not only football experience, but also life experience."
The idea that Briles can successfully teach young people how to make smart decisions in their lives is truly upsetting.
The district will receive loads of warranted backlash. Heaps of negativity will be thrown onto the small town of under 3,000 people.
Maybe it will cause them to change their minds. Maybe the school will live with the PR nightmare and let him coach anyway.
Regardless, the district has already sent a clear and unsettling message that the safety of the women in the community is of no real importance.
This was a terrible choice. Mount Vernon ISD knew it. It's why the district released this news on a Friday night before a holiday weekend in hopes that it would be buried.
The worst part about all of this is that once again the women who deal with the depression, the emotional and physical scars they bear, the nightmares that come with being the survivor of sexual assault are taking another blow.
Hiring Briles sends the message to them that what they went through doesn't matter, that they do not matter.
These survivors have to constantly be triggered and re-traumatized in the fight to stop situations like the one at Baylor from occurring again.
I don't have the answers for the survivors tonight when it comes to why a school would make the decision to hire Briles.
I can only say to these brave women that they do matter and that a lot of people will continue to fight for their voices to be heard.