Art Briles

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have not played a game since August 18 when they lost 37-18 to the Ottawa Redblacks, but continue to make headlines. Last week they named June Jones their head coach after Kent Austin decided he would concentrate on his duties as vice-president of football operations and then this week the Tiger-Cats hired an assistant coach but then released him before he even had an opportunity to be on the sidelines.

The hiring and release of former Baylor head coach Art Briles by the Tiger-Cats ended up becoming huge news. How big? Well, for a while it made the headlines on the ESPN website. You know the story is significant when that occurs.

Briles was extremely successful coaching the University of Baylor. He had a record of 65 wins and 37 losses with the Bears from 2008 to 2015. He also needed to be credited with turning the organization around. After going 4-8 in each of his first two seasons, the Bears went 57-21 over his last six years. However, he was fired in 2016 for inappropriately handling allegations of sexual assault. Briles was fired, while Baylor University President Ken Starr, Baylor University athletic director Ian McCaw and Title IX co-ordinator Patty Crawford resigned.

When the Tiger-Cats hired Briles, they received instant criticism on social media and his time as the Tiger-Cats assistant ended up becoming very short indeed. Interestingly, it was the new Canadian Football League commissioner that took action as Randy Ambrosie met with the Tiger-Cats. After the meeting the CFL put out a statement saying Briles would not be joining Hamilton.

The decision was very interesting because Briles and Jones are long-time friends. However due to the fact the CFL is really promoting the position of diversity, with the new slogan of “diversity is strength,” Ambrosie’s decision should not come as much of a surprise. The real question is, in this day in age where gender equality and appropriate conduct in the workplace has taken on even higher scrutiny and importance than ever before, did the Tiger-Cats really think their initial hiring of Briles would not receive initial criticism?

Let’s hope we can now start analyzing the Tiger-Cats on field performance. Remarkably there is a chance they could win their first game of the year in 2017. Hamilton has decided to go with Jeremiah Masoli over Zach Collaros at quarterback on Labour Day against the Toronto Argonauts. Hamilton has not had a win all year, but wacky things happen on Labour Day. With two weeks off, and the fact the Argos are 4-6 themselves, the Tiger-Cats just might deliver something special this Monday.