By now you’ve probably heard that prior to Sam Ukwuachu’s sexual assault of a female student athlete at Baylor, he was involved in another violent incident before he ever stepped foot in Waco.
In 2013, while at Boise State, there was concern for the safety of Ukwuachu’s girlfriend at the time after he put his first through a window while intoxicated. The Texas Monthly obtained documents that paint a picture of a player with a violent temper. Marc Paul, the Boise State’s assistant athletics director, reportedly went as far to encouraging the girlfriend to stay away from their house, and worked to get police protection for a third roommate sharing the house.
How much of this Baylor knew when accepting his transfer is under scrutiny. Boise State’s official reason for dismissing Ukwuachu from the program was the nondescript violation of team rules. How much did Art Briles know about it though? According to his statement, not much.
“I talked with Chris Petersen [Head coach of Boise State at the time] personally. No mention of anything beyond Sam being depressed, needing to come home. It’s unfortunate for everybody concerned. That’s really about it. Our timeline was followed by what the standards were here.”
Now the coach at Washington, former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen responded with a statement of his own, and it conflicts with Briles’ account of things.
“After Sam Ukwuachu was dismissed from the Boise State football program and expressed an interest in transferring to Baylor, I initiated a call with coach Art Briles, In that conversation, I thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam’s disciplinary record and dismissal.”
And that’s all it took to set the Twitter-verse on fire. Yahoo’s Pat Forde even went as far as to call Briles a liar, and declared his future at Baylor in doubt.
Briles has since reaffirmed his stance, and even produced a form signed by Boise State officials to back up his claim. However, it really doesn’t matter.
As you start mashing out some hate filled tweets to send my way think about this, last year Bob Stoops was land-blasted for Joe Mixon’s continued presence on the roster. He needed to go. He deserved a second chance, but it shouldn’t be at Oklahoma.
Now, I’m not comparing cases, or talking about what OU should or shouldn’t have done. I’m simply talking about the public opinion at the time. If Mixon deserved a second chance, then surely Ukwuachu did too. After all, at the end of the day Ukwuachu broke a window. Mixon broke a face.
What happened is reprehensible, but to lay the fault at Art Briles’ feet by saying he should have known is irresponsible. Not everyone with a temper and bloody knuckles is bound to rape someone someday.
The issue isn’t whether or not Briles knew about the incident. The issue is why Ukwuachu was allowed to attend classes with the victim after the sexual assault was reported, and why did it go unnoticed for so long? Those are the questions that need answered. Not whether or not Briles knew that he’d gotten drunk and broke a window.
We can’t force someone make the most of a second opportunity. All we can do is give them out, and we shouldn’t blame those that do when things go wrong.