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Hue Jackson’s Foundation Defends Decision to Hire Art Briles

Editor’s note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org.

Grambling State's hiring of former Baylor coach Art Briles drew immediate blowback from the college football world. On Friday, the foundation for Grambling State head coach Hue Jackson released a public letter defending the decision, pledging to “support Coach Briles and all victims of assault, violence, social and racial injustices.” 

"The Hue Jackson Foundation has been dedicated to fighting against ALL forms of sexual abuse and exploitation as well as other forms of racial and social bias," the statement read. "We have a clear understanding of the role that coaches and others who have a position of trust play in the lives of those they meet.”

“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.”

While Jackson appears to be holding firm in his choice to bring Briles onto his staff, the move has yet to clear every hurdle, as the hire reportedly has not yet received board approval.

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Briles was fired from Baylor in 2016 after an an independent investigation revealed Briles and administrators at the university ignored dozens of sexual assault allegations. Briles has not coached a college football program since being fired from Baylor. Pepper Hamilton, the law firm hired by Baylor to investigate the allegations, revealed that the football program and the athletic department failed to “identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player.”

Jackson’s letter touted three key factors in adding Briles to the staff: forgiveness, redemption and enlightenment. It concludes by pledging to support Briles, as well as "all victims of assault," and asks others to refrain from mentioning the history of sexual violence during Briles’s time at Baylor.

“As we move forward together with Coach Briles, we ask that people keep in mind that no matter your views on this topic, please remember that people can and often do become re-traumatized and re-victimized by statements which may or may not be accurate," the statement read. "We will continue to support Coach Briles and all victims of assault, violence, social and racial injustices and we will continue to provide equal opportunity for healing for everyone.”

The hiring of Briles isn’t the only issue for which Jackson is being scrutinized. The Hue Jackson Foundation reportedly collected $158,000 in 2019, and it then spent $115,000 to its sole paid employee and spent another $15,000 on travel, per ESPN’s Dan Murphy. In total, the foundation reportedly gave out $4,000 in grants after paying its sole employee and handling other expenses. 

Jackson was fired by the Browns in October 2018 after he posted a 3–36–1 record from 2016-’18. 

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