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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats Say They Won't Hire Art Briles After People Freaked Out On Them

The team's CEO initially said Art Briles deserved a second chance.

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have decided not to hire Art Briles after all, a reversal that came within the same day as the announcement of his initial hiring.

Lm Otero / The Associated Press

The Canadian Football League team had announced Monday morning that Briles would serve as the assistant offensive head coach. By late evening, following an intense public backlash from fans, the Ticats and the league released a joint statement that said Briles was no longer moving to the CFL.

Briles was fired from his last job as head coach of Baylor University in the wake of a sexual assault scandal that engulfed the Texas school's football program. According to an independent outside report, Baylor administrators failed to follow proper procedures when dealing with sexual assault cases, actively discouraged some complainants from reporting, and in one case retaliated against a student who did report an assault. The school's actions "created a cultural perception that football was above the rules," the report said.

Baylor has also said that Briles failed to report an alleged gang rape by five football players after learning about it, and school officials alleged in a court filing that the former head coach played a central role in hiding player misconduct.

People were quick to call out the Ticats for a "horrible decision."

Horrible decision by Ticats to hire Briles. Pathetic actually. #CFL

"It's not a scandal, it's injustice."

What message is the @Ticats sending to the community in hiring him as a coach? Also it's not a scandal, it's injust…

Many said they were disappointed a Canadian team was helping rehabilitate Briles.

Art Briles getting another football job is gross. Getting it in Canada makes me feel gross. Ew.


Some promised to boycott the team.

What an absolutely deplorable decision by the @Ticats to hire Art Briles. June Jones should be ashamed and Hamilton…

@Ticats I am the father of a daughter and I will not be supporting this hire. As a result I will not be attending anymore games.

People also questioned the league's role in the hiring, especially in light of the progressive image it has adopted.

Art Briles, huh?! The CFL sure didn't waste much time destroying that goodwill they generated with the Diversity campaign.

The CFL has adopted "diversity is strength" as a motto, and the league has also supported a campaign to end violence against women.

The Tiger-Cats initially stayed quiet on the controversy, but the team's CEO Scott Mitchell told a sports blog that the league had been aware of Briles' hiring, and that the disgraced coach deserved a "second chance."

"For every reaction that you’re getting from social media and media, there’s a tremendous amount of support behind the scenes for a tough decision," Mitchell told

Canadian Press

"I think a lot of people in this world, including myself, have made bad decisions and have regrets, and I certainly feel strongly that in this case, Art Briles deserves a second opportunity," he said.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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