#TruthDontLie Baylor, You Have a Problem
Whoever runs the Twitter account for Baylor football coach Art Briles needs to be fired. Well, Briles needs to be fired, too. And if he’s the one actually running his Twitter account, then that’s just an added reason for Briles to be fired.
On Wednesday, Briles (or someone on his behalf) posted to his account an image trumpeting all the ways in which Baylor football is the best team in the country. Accompanied by two hashtags, #TruthDontLie and #RealityNotHype. And the truth might not lie when it comes to Baylor's racking up yards and points on a ridiculously soft out-of-conference schedule. But Baylor forgot to mention one thing in that graph: the #TruthDontLie about a never-ending string of rapes and sexual assaults committed by Baylor football players against Baylor’s female population.
And #TruthDontLie when it comes to the fact that one of the victims has filed a lawsuit against the school, Baylor officials and Briles. A lawsuit alleging that at least one victim informed athletic director Ian McCaw that she had been sexually assaulted by then football player Tevin Elliott, only to be told there was nothing the university could do.
Jasmin Hernandez is the woman who filed the suit against Baylor in federal district court in Waco last month (while it is not common practice to name the victims of sexual assaults, her attorneys have told multiple media outlets that her name can be revealed). She states that she was attacked by Elliott in April of 2012. She went to the police. She informed officials at Baylor. Her mother and father even called Art Briles, only to be ignored. She was informed by Baylor that there was nothing that could be done. As she attempted to recover from the assault, and from dealing with the fact that Elliott was still walking around campus, she was denied academic assistance, according to the lawsuit.
“A few days [after the assault, the victim’s] Mother called Baylor’s Academic Services Department to request academic accommodations for her daughter, who was still traumatized from being raped and would not be able to fully concentrate on her studies for some time,” the lawsuit states. “The Academic Services Department refused to provide any accommodations, telling Mother that ‘if even a plane falls on your daughter, there’s nothing we can do to help you.’”
Elliott was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to 20 years for sexual assault. But he was never punished by Baylor, and he remained on the football team until he transferred out. Hernandez ended up on academic probation, had her academic scholarship revoked and was eventually kicked out of the school.
“Yeah, I’m always concerned when something of that nature transpires,” Art Briles told the media several weeks ago upon hearing about another of his players committing sexual assault. “It’s been a process to where we’re really doing all we can do to make sure all of our guys are at the awareness level they need to be at by giving them proper training with professionals in those fields to help them know how to handle themselves at all times. I hope, like everybody else across America’s doing. It’s a situation where it’s a concern and it’s something we are dealing with on a daily basis."
Baylor president Ken Starr has expressed some platitudes hinting at concern, but besides hiring a law firm from Philadelphia to look into what’s happened — and this only happening late last year — he’s done nothing but make sure Art Briles gets paid. There have been, as of yet, no sanctions against the football team.
So the #RealityNotHype of this situation is that there have been more incidents at Baylor than can be easily discussed in just one story. But here is a link to a listing of all of the known assaults and reactions that have occurred at Baylor since 2009. And it is #RealityNotHype that Baylor has screwed this up, all of this, in more ways than can even be imagined. Briles, Starr and the rest of the Baylor administration have allowed to flourish a culture that, while not encouraging sexual assault, has done next to nothing to put a halt to the situation. Baylor has made it known that nothing is more important than the record and ranking of the football team, with the university exhibiting more outrage over the school being left out of the NCAA playoffs than it has over anything that’s happened to its female students at the hands of the team's football players.
So there’s your #TruthDontLie Art Briles. There’s your #RealityNotHype Ken Starr. Somehow Art Briles still has a job. Somehow Ken Starr still has a job. If I were a parent, I'm not sure putting the safety of my daughter into the hands of these two would be the best thing. But hey, at least the football team is winning games, right?