Baylor Bears

Art Briles news brings support from former star but mostly sharp criticism

Art Briles is still a polarizing figure in football.

The former Baylor head coach, who was fired in May 2016 after a scandal of sexual assault and rape by his players engulfed the program, is returning to the sidelines in Texas at Mount Vernon High School.

Most of the reaction on social media was swift and angry about the news. But former Baylor Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III supported Briles. He posted an image of the press release of the news from Mount Vernon ISD, writing “Happy for you coach Art Briles!!!”

That post received a sharp rebuke by many. Later, Griffin explained his view.

“I understand why it’s not always a good look to support someone tied to such a sensitive scandal,” Griffin posted on Twitter. “CAB is family & I’ve been praying he gets a second chance to prove himself and I’m hopeful people will also give him a second chance to prove that what happened isn’t who he is.”

For most, however, Briles history at Baylor, which included a lot of winning, is enough to keep him off the sideline, at least in the United States. Briles has been coaching football in Italy. He was hired as an assistant by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League a year ago but after social media outrage, the offer was canceled.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.