No apologies

Apparently Trib opinion editor Bill Whitaker doesn’t read his own newspaper. In the May 26, 2018, Trib column by Baylor alumnus Bill Rogers, quoting a letter by the Baylor University Board of Regents, regents exonerate Coach Art Briles of any wrongdoing in the sexual assaults. It also said no one had reported any sexual assaults to him or that he had discouraged any from reporting it. The letter also explains why there have been no takers to the $10,000 offer to anyone to show any wrongdoing by Briles.

Rather than hold a press conference reading their letter, Baylor — obviously embarrassed — quietly released it.

In fact, Title IX coordinator Patty Crawford told Baylor regents in 2014 that of the more than 400 incidents of sexual harassment claims, the problem of campus rapes was not distinct to the football illness but campuswide. Why don’t you print the pertinent facts of Rogers’ column along with your apologies to Briles!

Jim Cantrell, Axtell

EDITOR’S NOTE: Put on your peepers. The carefully worded excerpt of the May 23, 2017, letter to which you refer, actually written by BU general counsel Chris Holmes, reads as follows: “As you [Briles] speak with others regarding these issues, you can be assured you may make certain statements without fear of contradiction from Baylor based on the information currently known to us. In particular, at this time we are unaware of any situation where you personally had contact with anyone who directly reported to you being the victim of sexual assault or that you directly discouraged the victim of an alleged sexual assault from reporting to law enforcement or University officials. Nor are we aware of any situation where you played a student athlete who had been found responsible for sexual assault.”

Yet Baylor has also stood by its reason for firing Briles in 2016 after an investigation by the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton found the school mishandled numerous sexual assault allegations, several involving football players. It found the football program overseen by Briles was “operating above the rules.” Nor does the letter acknowledge damning text messages sent between Briles, former athletics staffer Colin Shillinglaw and other high-level officials appearing to try to cover up or keep quiet reported crimes committed by Baylor football players, according to a legal filing by three prominent Baylor regents in February 2017. Such seemingly conflicting statements by both Baylor and Briles are duly noted in Whitaker’s Sunday column.

Mr. Rogers’ description of the letter as an exoneration is his opinion, one shared widely but not universally if comments by rape victims and their champions and defenders, both then and now, are any indication. As football writer Jason Kersey tweeted upon news of Briles’ hiring at Mount Vernon ISD: “Let’s all just stop and remember why Art Briles got fired from Baylor, and all the young women whose health/wellbeing was put at risk by his inaction.”

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