For the second year in a row, Art Briles’ name has been associated with a college football program. And for the second year in a row, it’s because an idiot, posing as a coach, brought him around. Hue Jackson, meet Jeff Lebby.
In the wake of a sports weekend that included the return of the NFL, the collapse of Team USA Basketball, the greatness of Coco Gauff, Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes, and the news that now-suspended Michigan State head football Mel Tucker is a creep that allegedly preyed on a rape survivor who advocates for victims (Tucker has denied the allegations) you might have missed that Briles is back in the news.
The University of Oklahoma has started an investigation after Lebby — the Sooners offensive coordinator — had Briles, his father-in-law, on the field after Saturday’s 28-11 victory over SMU. The situation is “being dealt with” according to Oklahoma coach Brent Venables.
“I was just as disappointed as many of our fans when I learned of the postgame situation tonight,” wrote OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione in a statement. “It shouldn’t have happened and it was my expectation it never would, based on boundaries we previously set. I’ve addressed it with the appropriate staff.”
Everybody seems to understand why Briles can’t be around. But yet, Lebby tried to act like family ties trump sensible judgment.
“That’s my father-in-law,” he said in a post-game press conference. “He’s my father-in-law. That’s the grandfather to my two kids. So he was down with our entire family after the game, well after the game.”
His tune has changed a bit.
“Just want everybody to understand, my father-in-law — his presence on the field after the game the other night is just something that created a distraction. And I do — I apologize for that,” he said in a prepared statement at the start of his weekly media session, according to ESPN. “That was not the intent at all. The intent was just to celebrate with my family.”
There’s never a moment in which Briles should have anything to do with football again — let alone on a college campus given his disgraceful and cowardly past. In 2016, he was fired as the head coach at Baylor after a sex scandal discovered that the university’s former president down to Briles were looking the other way and ignoring rape allegations against numerous members of the football team. One former student claimed that over 50 girls had been sexually assaulted and raped by more than 30 players during a four-year span. It’s one of the vilest sex scandals college sports has ever witnessed.
Last year, Hue Jackson tried to add Briles to his coaching staff at Grambling University — it did not go over well.
“I’m not a fan at all. I’m very, very disappointed in Grambling, I really am,” Doug Williams, Grambling’s most iconic player and former two-time coach of the program, told The Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala. “I talked to the AD a couple times. They knew where I stood, but they did it and if that’s what they want to do, that’s fine. I’m out.”
But since Jackson is tied to Briles through friendship in the same way that Lebby is through marriage — the two men wrongly thought that they’d get away with it.
“We believe that through the hiring of Coach Briles and the well-developed programs we have in place, this hire will be instrumental in teaching others the importance of knowing how to prevent victimization, proper reporting procedures, provide adequate resources to individuals who have been victimized and develop strong law enforcement partnerships within the community,” read part of the statement from Jackson’s foundation in defense of the hiring.
Eventually, sense became common, and Briles exited stage left.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your coaching staff at Grambling State University,” Briles said in a statement aimed at Jackson. “Unfortunately, I feel that my continued presence will be a distraction to you and your team, which is the last thing that I want. I have the utmost respect [for] the university, and your players.”
Hue Jackson proved that the message about Art Biles still hasn’t been received. Jeff Lebby showed us that he flat-out ignored it. That means that next year we’re destined for another Art Briles story because some idiot football coach thought he spent enough time served. They say the jocks are the dumb ones — maybe it’s the coaches.