Vice- Baylor's football team is wearing all black in their home game against TCU today—that much is certain. What has been kind of foggy this morning, however, is their rationale for wearing the black uniforms. Some have insinuated that it's in support of Art Briles—who was fired earlier this year after staying silent amidst multiple accusations of sexual assault among his players—and some have not. Let's parse out exactly what's going on.
The commotion all started with ESPN's Brett McMurphy tweeting about the team's motivation behind the "blackout," with a retweet of Baylor's wide receiver Chris Platt saying "This black out means more than just the uniforms to us. #truthdontlie".
Baylor players coming to Briles defense is not entirely unheard of, as some have stood up for Briles in the past, and it seems that #truthdontlie is a pro-Briles hashtag, which insinuates that Briles was just the scapegoat. Baylor's offensive lineman Mo Porter had also tweeted along similar lines on Friday night, adding the hashtag #CAB, which stands for "Coach Art Briles".
Hats off to the University of Baylor. There's certainly no shortage of things you can say about how they fostered an institutional culture of sexual misconduct and just about every other criminal activity covered under Constitutional law, but don't you dare say they haven't handled the subsequent backlash about as by-the-book as you can. They may be blind to the error of their ways, the trials and tribulations of their victims, and the most elementary understanding of the difference between right and wrong, but they surely are schooled in the practice of putting it behind them. After all, if Penn State has taught us anything then it's that the only way to show you are apologetic for your actions is to openly support the person whose negligence was responsible for them. Every knows you can't open the door to a brighter future without bidding a proper, symbolic farewell to your all-too-dark past.
That's why they almost had to have a blackout game and give out corresponding t-shirts honoring the contributions of their disgraced head coach. Nothing helps your school fly under the radar while also paying respects to their incredibly flawed history quite like collectively wearing the most stealthy color that exists. It's not Baylor's fault that the entirety of college football has turned black uniforms into some gimmicky promotion that gets more people to pay attention. They were just trying to wear the most understated of hues while showing their appreciation for all the wins that their Head Co-Consprirator helped lead them too. Personally, I don't see the problem with acknowledging Art Briles' accomplishments on the field. Are we just supposed to ignore the successes of his former team and focus solely on the fact that his players were out turning Waco, Texas into some overly sexualized version of 'The Purge' on his watch? So he enabled a litttttle bit of domestic abuse and non-consensual sex. Not sure if you heard, but he won a lot of football games and I'm pretty sure that's the reason he was hired in the first place.
In all seriousness, no athletic program has needed the death penalty quite like Baylor football. I feel like the tales of corruption have only become more frequent with the firing of the person who intentionally covered them up, yet their players and fans have only become more staunch in their defense of that person. At this point they are basically begging for the electric chair. I know not every Baylor alum trivializes the horrific shit that happened on their campus, but - judging by the line to pick up a shirt featuring the most tone deaf hashtag in collegiate history (quite the feat, btw) - enough of them do to justify pulling the plug on a team that should be casted in the sequel to 'The Longest Yard'.