Former Baylor Coach Art Briles can’t undo the past, but he can take responsibility for it. That’s what the 60-year-old attempted to do during an interview that aired on Saturday morning during ESPN’s “College Gameday” program.
“I feel responsibility,” Briles told Tom Rinaldi (via ESPN) about the inadequate ways the football program handled sexual assault complaints filed against its players. “You know these players are part of our program, representative of our program … and when they do wrong, then it reflects on me and the university, so I do feel responsibility.”
This is a sharp turn from Briles’s statements, made through his attorney, in June after the school terminated his contract in May. At that time, Briles’s attorney argued the school was using Briles as a scapegoat “to disguise and distract from its own institutional failure to comply with Title IX and other federal civil rights laws.”
“I lost some of my soul, quite honestly,” Briles said of how he felt about the scandal and his resulting termination.
Briles also apologized directly to the victims in the interviews.
“I’d tell them I’m extremely sorry,” he said. “My heart aches, and we probably have, hopefully, a good cry session and then a talk session and then, hopefully, a hug session, because it just appalls me that somebody could victimize another human being. There’s no place in society for it, and I’ve never condoned it and I never will.”
Briles’s words, however, were met by skepticism both by the ESPN GameDay panel, whose discussion was largely drowned out by an audio gaffe, and on Twitter.
Briles confirmed again to ESPN that he would like to coach college football again, although that’s been no secret. Briles said in July he wanted another coaching gig, and his recent hiring of Jimmy Sexton, the agent of Alabama’s Nick Saban, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, USC’s Clay Helton and Georgia’s Kirby Smart, his future ambitions were pretty clear.
In the interview on Saturday, Briles, said he is going to do “everything within my power to hopefully get the opportunity to coach again.”