Smith: Hiring Art Briles makes me question being a Ticats fan

We have reached the final straw.

The Ticats hiring of Art Briles as assistant head coach sparked justifiable outrage amongst the CFL community when it was announced earlier this morning. Briles was fired by Baylor University in May of 2016 for helping to cover up multiple cases of sexual assault by players on the football team, including a number of gang rapes.

Just typing that sentence made me feel sick.

I have been a very loyal Ticats fan for close to 30 years. I have supported this team through the good years, the bad years and the years in between, and in all those years nothing has made me question whether I should continue being a fan.

Until today.

The team has made moves I haven’t agreed with; in fact, they do it quite frequently. But I remained a supporter because it is all about the name on the front of jersey, not the back. But the team has never made a move so vile, so disgusting, or so indefensible as hiring a man who allegedly helped cover up numerous sexual assaults.

It has been tough being a Ticats fan this season. An 0-8 record, multiple double-digit losses, a 60-1 embarrassment in Calgary, all the jokes about cheering for a team that, quite frankly, sucks. But that is the nature of sports. Some years your team is the hammer, others the nail. But there was still a measure of pride, Hamilton pride, in being a Ticats fan. That is gone now. There is no pride to be found in cheering for a team that would hire Art Briles.

This is a stain that will stay with this team for a very long time. It is not one that will be washed away simply by letting Briles go. The decision was still deemed appropriate by whomever made it, be it June Jones, Kent Austin, or by someone even higher up on the ladder. Someone made the call and we need to know who, and they need to answer as to why they thought this was a good idea.

The CFL may be a league of second chances, but there are some people who don’t deserve a second chance.

Art Briles is one of those people.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.
Josh Smith
Josh Smith
About Josh Smith (345 Articles)
Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.

63 Comments on Smith: Hiring Art Briles makes me question being a Ticats fan

  1. I really need to rethink season tickets given this latest move. Has KA, and BY off their rockets! A political and disturbing nightmare!

    So so disappointed!

    • Sea of Dead // August 28, 2017 at 5:32 pm //

      Caretaker Bob: Do the right thing and reverse the Briles hiring and consider turfing those that recommended him as well. No shame in correcting a tragic mistake! Winning isn’t everything, at least not like this.

  2. This is so so disappointing. Are KA, SM, and BY that naive they can thumb their noses at the fans and the integrity of the game and of the CFL? Will the new commissioner tolerate this?

  3. Johnny Blumpkin // August 28, 2017 at 2:53 pm //

    What an embarrassing decision by the Ti-Cats.

  4. Don Sutherland // August 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm //

    I thought the RIDERS were bad bringing in J. COX. This so vile the rider isn’t in the race. Get rid of him and the hiring people before the day is over.

    • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm //

      Its interesting seeing the concern over this by Ticats fans. Some other fans bases haven’t faced this type of thing so responsibly and concerning like Ticats fans… I have new respect for you

  5. Very well said.

  6. Just saying // August 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm //

    Wow, I’m a father of two, boy and girl. This hire is discusting. Two people need to go the hired and the hiree.

  7. I don’t often agree with Josh but he’s bang on. That’s a line you can’t cross.

  8. Amen Josh…amen. Hopefully Ambrosie kills this hire if the ‘Cats don’t.

  9. Told ya – Bob !

  10. I feel like Josh pretty much just posted to 3 Down Nation a better articulated version of my complaints on social media. Good call, Josh. I can put up with a lot of crappy decisions, or even “being the nail” as you termed it. This crap isn’t acceptable.

  11. Does the signing not have to be approved by the CFL Commissioner? Also, Briles’ record may prevent him entry into Canada and access to a work visa.

    • I don’t think he has a record. Was he ever charged with anything?

      Not suggesting that Ti-Cats fans should support the move at all, but the question about whether Briles can come to Canada has been brought up a few times now. I know of nothing preventing it.

  12. Smith, were you outraged when the Tiger Cats hired Eric Tillman to be the GM? He actually plead guilty while Briles was not even charged. I think both of them (and anyone else associated with violence against women in any way) should be banned from the CFL like Cox was.

  13. The CFL decided to wade into the sea of politics with their Diversity Is Strength campaign instead of just playing football. Now, look what happened. I guess violence against women & rape isn’t diverse. The CFL looks like a league of hypocrites.

  14. Stop with the comparisons to Tillman … they don’t fit. Tillman was charged with a crime, plead guilty, served his sentence, and ultimately is entitled to a second chance. His crime had nothing to do with football.

    Briles facilitated the rape, gang rape, and sexual assault of women by his football players by actively covering up misconduct and keeping the eligible so they could play and be free to attack other victims. He has never accepted any responsibility and has lied about his actions (repeatedly) and gone so far as to try and deflect blame onto others. Whatever one may say about Tillman, he accepted responsibility and consequences.

    They are not in the same league. I am not defending Tillman, but do not lumo Briles in with him. This man is far worse than anything Eric Tillman may have done.

    • Quint There is no proof to any of your claims. If any of them were true he would have been charged, and not have been exonerated by the university.
      Its fine to have an opinion but your stick to the proven facts

      • He wasn’t exonerated by the University. He was fired for cause. There is plenty of proof, starting with Pepper Hamilton, Chris Petersen’s public statements, the convictions of Oakman and Okwauchu (players who were suspended by other programs for sexual misconduct and enabled by Briles). The balance of probabilities is overwhelming here.

      • Billy Reed // August 29, 2017 at 3:03 pm //

        What sentence he plead guilty and was given an absolute discharge…layer low for awhile came in and decimated the Eskimos for several years by trading Ricky Ray. Now he’s doing similar work with similar results for the Ticats.

  15. Didn’t the Tiger Cats hear about Joe Paterno at Penn State? Joe , apparently knew nothing about what was going on. Briles decided to do little or nothing about his players and sex abuse. The Tiger Cats also – apparently – knew nothing. REALLY!!?

  16. Glenn Chernick // August 28, 2017 at 4:08 pm //

    I agree with everything you said Josh. Although I am not a TiCat fan, this hire stains the whole league. I was unimpressed when the Riders went after Hardy, I feel what this coach did is even less forgivable

  17. Oh brother!!

  18. Been a Ti-Cat fan since 1972, like my father before me.

    Today that stopped. Can not support this organization anymore.

  19. Right on Josh! There needs to be a total housecleaning from the top down including whoever pushed to hire Briles. If that includes the Caretaker, so be it. This certainly is the low point in the history of this organization. Longtime fans need to drop the hammer and make a statement.

  20. “His crime had nothing to do with football”……….??

    You’re right, it had to do with sexual assault – against a minor! Now with the zero tolerance policy in place (or not) how is one act more acceptable than the other? Justin Cox was found not guilty yet was banned from the league….is their any accountability on behalf of the CFL or are they just winging it ?

  21. Jim Harvie // August 28, 2017 at 5:14 pm //

    Covering up a series of rapes? So it was claimed but that’s not what was found to be the fact. He was only guilty of an incompetent investigation, a task he should never have been assigned. The rapist is serving 20 years, but as Americans are wont, everybody is sueing everybody. These hyperbolic reactions do nothing but make people feel virtuous. Smells like a lynch mob to me. Got help you when your turn comes folks, cause no one else will.

    • I agree totally!

    • How about the M/M fight? Guy is a notorious woman beater….any of you saints pay to watch that? Not supporting this decision either per se….just curious how far the moral outrage extends when it comes to fan support…is there consistency to the position? I sometimes feel like there are some vicious virtue signalers on here and I like to challenge them on their logical fallacies.

  22. Boycott the Ticats

  23. If you want to boycott a sport with convicted felons, women beaters, drugs etc then you have to go the whole mile and stop watching all football – especially the NFL.

    Briles seems to be more guilty of not addressing the problem in his team and not building a culture where that simply wasn’t going to be tolerated – that means – a hint of sexual assault or violence means you’re out of the program.

  24. Caledonian // August 28, 2017 at 6:14 pm //

    Tillman, now this guy. I am so glad I cashed out my tickets to this circus last year. This is a team completely without a moral compass. This rot goes all the way to the “caretaker”, who is looking more like an undertaker. End of the line for me.

  25. One thing that’s important to remember is that the decision was made by someone who is currently working for the Ticats, and that’s who should own the stain. The Ticats are over half a century old, and they belong to the fans. Don’t stop supporting the Ticats because one or more current employees may have made some bad decisions. Find a way to protest if you’re upset, but don’t stop supporting the team.

  26. Mantis Toboggan // August 28, 2017 at 6:19 pm //

    I really don’t know what to say to this. I’d really like to hear from the “Caretaker” on this one.

  27. Jake E Snake // August 28, 2017 at 6:19 pm //

    Once again Horsie shut the pie hole… this article was a well written article that has zero to do with the Riders.. Such a horses ass!!

  28. Caledonian // August 28, 2017 at 6:44 pm //

    Yeah, so when they bring Jerry Sandusky into town, I should still support them? I have my limits and when they brought this scumbag into the fold they crossed them. So, if you can honestly cheer on a guy with this history in good conscience, good for you, I can’t, this move is a disgrace.

    • Caledonia. Sandusky was charged and convicted of a crime. These little details are important.

  29. Wait so someone who was convicted of a crime deserves a second chance but someone who was never convicted doesn’t deserve a second chance?

    Please explain the reasoning behind your opinion because from my point of view it’s absolute bullshit.

  30. Josh I’m disappointed in you. You just jump on a bandwagon without knowing all the facts.

  31. Ruth woodley // August 28, 2017 at 7:23 pm //

    No No No to the assistant coach.The states are so glad to get rid of him and Ticats now take a piece of human waste such as him.Seriously I will throw all my Ticats shirts on your grounds after I rip them up.As a mom of a girl who was sexually molested by I take big offence to this you will lose your city.Take all the Americans and go back home This team has now reached the utmost highest level of disgusting.Not only can’t your players play and your coach can’t coach you stoop to hiring perverts What happened to OUR TEAM YOU ARE MAKING HAMILTON A LAUGHING STOCK I WILL NEVER WEAR A TICAT SHIRT AGAIN EVER SO SUCK THAT UP BOB YOUNG

    • How is he a pervert? He never sexually assaulted anyone. All of you who are “disgusted” by this hiring need to look into the actual facts of the story instead of just reading the first line of any given need article about the man. He has never been convicted of any wrong doing in the sexual assault investigations. Even this article is ridiculous “But the team has never made a move so vile, so disgusting, or so indefensible as hiring a man who allegedly helped cover up numerous sexual assaults.” Is that how you feel about everyone who allegedlly did something wrong but was never convicted? Last I checked just because something was alleged doesn’t mean it happened. I’m not trying to defend him if he in fact did something wrong but on the same token all of you are quick to grab your pitchforks and torches when he was never convicted of anything.

      • All fair points Kyle. I would simply say that as the Coach he was in a responsible leadership position….and as such if it happened on his watch….he needs to be accountable….and perhaps lose his command….which is what happened it appears.

      • What ever happened to innocent till proven guilty? Me thinks some of these Cats fans are getting their torches and pitch forks ready to march on Tim Hortons field.

  32. I don’t think the hiring was a good move from a PR standpoint, but assuming him guilty of something he was never charged with and was exonerated from is completely wrong.

  33. Tom Galivan // August 28, 2017 at 7:57 pm //

    I can deal with a losing season but the decision to hire Art Briles makes me ashamed to be a TiCats fan. If I go to the game on labour day it will be with a picket sign.

    • Hey Tom…..that would be a great way to still support your team (which is bigger than just this one situation)…..but disagree with the recent actions…..well done!

  34. Have any of you self-righteous posters actually read about the Baylor case in any detail? If so, you would know that Art Briles didn’t cause, nor cover up any of the sexual misconducts within the athletics department of the university. Those would be crimes under the law. An external investigator was hired by Baylor University to investigate alleged misconduct when it reached the level of the Baylor regents. Much of which wasn’t even part of the football program. If anything, the Baylor regents chose to expunge all associates of the scandal in order to absolve themselves from responsibility.

    If you believe Art Briles is bad guy, that’s your prerogative. He was not charged with any crime. He is free to pursue his coaching career without the hindrance of legal action.

    Josh Smith, the ignorance you displayed in writing this article is a mark against any sort of journalistic integrity claimed by this website.

    • “Art Briles didn’t cause, nor cover up any of the sexual misconducts within the athletics department…”

      No, he just turned a blind eye to them and attempted to blame the victim(s) instead. I’ll leave you to determine whether that falls under “cover up”.

      Suggestion: maybe your standard for judging people should be stronger then “He didn’t go to jail”. He didn’t, but that doesn’t make him the type of person you want in your organization when you’re preaching diversity and about to have your ladies night.

    • cvmurrieta // August 29, 2017 at 12:13 pm //


      You are leaving out the text messages.

  35. Lennywasout // August 28, 2017 at 8:09 pm //

    I will not renew after 41 years of supporting this team. I will miss my first Labour Day game in 41 years. I will stop watching and supporting the CFL. Utterly disgusted by this hire.
    I’d rather be 0-18!!!!!!

    • That would be really sad for you and the team. The team (like the flag perhaps?) is bigger than any one situation…it encompasses both what is good and also that which you will make better.
      Please think long and hard before you cash in all those years of support and days of your life. Are there other ways you can show your love but withhold your support? The Ticats need you perhaps the most right now….is now the time to abandon them?

  36. Wow lennywasout can I have your tickets for free. I’ve been a supporter for over 60 years and have seen it all. But you take the cake. Get over it

  37. Oh and all you so called ticat supporters can I have all your swag. As you are jumping off the band wagon.

  38. Josh. Go get a real reporters job. Your comments are totally bush league. While I don’t support the hiring you really laid it on too think. No support the riders

  39. Tiger man // August 29, 2017 at 7:37 am //

    Couldn’t have said it better, Josh.

    I have a daughter, this year to enter high school. How do I support such a team and face her every day.

    I have been a Tiger cat supporter for over 40 years. Bob, this move is vile and disgusting. I can no longer put my hard earned money on a team that has shown such neglect and disregard for children and families.

    Seems like you’re more a caretaker for those who condone rape than anyone with a moral compass.

    Good luck with that.

  40. Every time I see June Jones, I think of Briles. Not good. May not use my season tickets on Labour Day.
    I don’t trust Mitchell, Austin, Jones, Tillman, – all slimey for even thinking this might be a good move. Not to mention their CFL experience is piddly.

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