In the latest twist of events for the Grambling State University football program, newly appointed offensive coordinator Art Briles resigned from his position four days after his appointment.
Briles in a statement released on Feb. 28 expressed his gratitude to Grambling State University for the opportunity to join its staff. Briles cited “being a distraction” as the reason for his resignation.
“I feel that my continued presence will be a distraction to you and your team, which is the last thing I want,” Briles said.
Briles was a the former head football coach at Baylor University football coach before being fired from that position in 2016 after an investigation conducted by a law firm sanctioned by Baylor alledged that Briles and other leaders of the football program covered up instances of sexual assault, including five gang rapes.
Briles was cleared of breach of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules by an NCAA committee. However, the committee did express that Briles’ response, or lack of, to reports of alleged sexual assaults by players in his team was “deeply troubling.” The committee went on to say Briles “failed to meet even the most basic expectation of how a person should react to the kind at issue.”
According to Sports Illustrated, GSU’s move to hire Briles was met by criticism from notable alumni, including legendary quarterback Doug Williams.
“I am very, very disappointed in Grambling, I really am. I talked to the athletic director a couple of 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,” Williams was quoted saying in SI .
When asked if he would still support the Tigers, as Grambling is affectionately known, Williams answered “No, no-no. If I support them, I condone it.”
The legendary Eddie G. Robinson’s grandson, Eddie Robinson III, expressed his disappointment over the Briles hiring to The Monroe News-Star..
“This is not the Grambling we all know,” Robinson was reported to have told The News-Star.
However, others are in support of the decision to hire Briles and who hope the former Baylor coach will change his mind about resigning.
Speaking as a representative of G-Men Nation, Inc., an organization that aims to grow and sustain the HBCU experience at Grambling, Executive Director Herman Arvie, who is a member of the Grambling Legends Hall of Fame, also spoke on the matter, expressing his hopes that Briles could have a change of heart.
“I’m speaking on behalf of G-Men Nation. We’re hoping that there’s an opportunity that Briles will change his mind.” Arvie said.