Ticats CEO calls hiring of scandal-plagued coach Art Briles a 'poor decision'
Howard Alexander - News Editor
Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones speaks to the media about the joint team and CFL decision to backtrack on the hiring of Art Briles as assistant coach following a practice in Hamilton, Ont., Tuesday, August 29, 2017.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Lynett
August 29, 2017 - 2:50 PM
Hamilton Tiger-Cats chief executive officer Scott Mitchell says the team reversed its decision on hiring scandal-plagued coach Art Briles after feeling the heat from fans and media.
Mitchell told reporters Tuesday that bringing in Briles, who was fired last year as head coach at Baylor in the wake of a sexual assault scandal that included members of the football team, was a "poor decision that in retrospect we shouldn't have made."
"Clearly the timing was inappropriate," Mitchell said. "Everything we do in the community we're very sincere about, and I think clearly we missed the mark in terms of the message we were sending".
The CFL club raised alarm bells when they announced the hiring of Briles as an assistant to new head coach June Jones in a statement Monday, and the move was widely criticized on social media.
Less than 11 hours after the announcement, the Ticats and CFL issued a joint statement reversing the decision to hire Briles.
"Ultimately, I'm responsible," Mitchell said. "Any discussion or situation ultimately has to be brought to me.
"Obviously, I'm responsible for the bad decision, we should have stopped the decision. I think we got wrapped up in the inner sanctum of football discussions and forgot about very important things like our standing in the community."
The 61-year-old Briles was fired in May 2016 by Baylor after an investigation by a law firm found that over several years the school mishandled numerous sexual assault allegations, including some against football players. The Pepper Hamilton review also led to the departures of Baylor University President Kenneth Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw.
"We made a large and serious mistake," Ticats owner Bob Young said in a statement on Tuesday. "We want to apologize to our fans, corporate partners and the Canadian Football League.
"It has been a difficult season and we are searching for answers. This is clearly not one of them. We have listened, we are reviewing our decision-making processes and we will learn. We will go on. We want to thank our fans, partners and the CFL for their help and support."
Briles has acknowledged making mistakes and apologized for some "bad things that went on under my watch." He has also pushed back against some accusations made against him and his program in lawsuits and made clear he wanted to return to coaching.
Jones declined to address the Briles controversy on Tuesday, outside of saying it wouldn't be a distraction for his winless football team.
The Ticats were having a season to forget before the Briles mess, with an 0-8 record, instability in the coaching ranks and a flare up of tensions at one practice after a 60-1 loss to Calgary that resulted in a brawl among teammates.
— With files from The Associated Press.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017