Baylor’s announcement that they plan to dismiss head football coach Art Briles, sanction athletic director Ian McCaw and re-assign president Ken Starr over the handling of various sexual assault allegations against members of its football team was huge news Thursday, but if you caught it first on SportsCenter, you might think that a very different organization was responsible for Briles’ firing. Check out this clip:
— Adam Patton (@realAdamPatton) May 26, 2016
That’s an understandable mistake from SportsCenter anchor Lisa Kerney, as the story at that point was about reports (from ESPN and other sources) that Baylor was going to officially announce Briles’ dismissal, and this was a quick-breaking story rather than something where she had a lot of time to prepare. Kerney probably meant to say “ESPN reports that Baylor has fired Art Briles,” but missed those crucial middle three words.
In some senses, even this report isn’t completely wrong, as media coverage (from ESPN and other outlets, but an ESPN Outside The Lines investigation of the Waco police records last week was crucial) of the sexual assault scandals at Baylor certainly increased the pressure on the school to terminate Briles despite his on-field success. Still, this was a decision made by the school, and made in the wake of the release of the summary of the external and independent investigation the law firm of Pepper Hamilton started last summer. ESPN’s reporting undoubtedly influenced Baylor’s decision, but Bristol didn’t pull the trigger here despite Kerney’s slip-up.