If Baylor ever wants to learn from and put the sexual assault scandal that’s loomed over the school all summer behind them, they sure aren’t doing themselves any favors. In week one, Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles wrote “CAB” on his hands to show support for disgraced former head coach Art Briles. On one hand, it’s a son showing respect to his father, but on the other it displays just how naive the school is about their reputation, the gravity of sexual assault, and rape culture in general. And that naivety was one display once again on Saturday. It was widely reported yesterday that former Baylor star Shawn Oakman, who’s currently facing sexual assault charges, visited the Bear’s locker room after their game against Rice.
How Oakman got into the locker room however, appears to be just as much a mystery to Baylor as it is to everyone else. When coach Jim Grobe was asked about Oakman’s presence and what the former player said to the team, Grobe essentially replies with a, ‘what now?’.
“I really have no idea,” Jim Grobe said to the press. “I don’t know who Shawn Oakman is. So I wouldn’t be able to recognize him if he walked in the door right now. There were a lot of people around at the end of the game. There are always a lot of people around. But I had no issues. I didn’t know he was there, or know who he is.”
Grobe might not have known who Oakman was, but the team certainly did, and quarterback Seth Russell took up for Oakman.
“He’s a great guy, just in a bad situation,” Russell said. “We’re not gonna hold anything against him. He was a part of the team and he’s still a part of Baylor. We’re going to love him as much as anybody else.”
Russell may be ready to welcome Oakman anytime, but in a statement released yesterday, Baylor is most certainly not.
“Baylor did not invite Shawn Oakman onto the field or into the locker room. He made his way there after the game but did not address the team. As indicated earlier today, Coach Grobe did not recognize that Oakman was in the locker room area as Coach gave his post-game address. Oakman spoke personally with a few former teammates and left the stadium. Oakman is not permitted in Baylor-owned facilities nor in the locker room at future away games.”
In July, a grand jury indicted Oakman on a sexual assault complaint, and he is currently awaiting trial. However, the former Baylor star, through his attorney, has maintained his innocence and maintains the sexual encounter was consensual.