Rick Gallot wants everyone critical of Grambling State naming Art Briles its offensive coordinator to bring that same energy helping the school win a Home Depot contest.
It has been 17 days since Briles resigned after having a cup of coffee as Grambling offensive coordinator.
And it’s almost been as long since Gallot, the school’s president, or athletic director Trayvean Scott, made any comments at length about how Briles went from actively working with Hue Jackson and the team for two weeks to sitting across from conservative mouthpiece Jason Whitlock explaining why it all dissolved.
But on March 7, Gallot — via his Prez Says show on KGRM — addressed the Briles situation that could be perceived as tone-deaf amid the circumstances.
“Coach Jackson, obviously has an eye for talent and when we think about, you know, all of the attention that was garnered by the (Briles) potential hire there, you know, it certainly is a testament to the high-profile value of our brand and how so much energy went into that possible hire that didn’t take place,” Gallot said when asked to provide his perspective.
Gallot did not elaborate further, but pivoted to promote Grambling being part of the Home Depot “Retool Your School” contest and encourage support for the campus improvement effort.
“I said if we can put the same energy into Retool Your School competition as went into, you know, the energy around that potential (offensive coordinator) hiring, then I think we would win this competition again, hands down,” he said.
Since Feb. 28, the day Briles resigned, Gallot has made reference to the Home Depot contest seven times on his personal Twitter account. Though the page is filled with retweets and messages about the Grambling football program, there has been no content regarding the Briles hire or his subsequent departure.
Gallot continued on the offensive, chastising critics of the school for expressing their displeasure with Briles’ association with Grambling. Among the more prominent detractors was former quarterback and championship coach Doug Williams. He suggested withdrawing support for the program as long as Briles was aboard.
“If the only time you want to come out and say something about Grambling is some negative energy, I would say keep it,” said Gallot. “You know, this is 2022. We are really trying to forge a path forward for this university that is powerful and positive.
“Give us that positive power and positive energy behind supporting our university. There (are) no external people who don’t want to see us do well. And if we, within our own residents of this town and alums and people who put that negative energy around the school, that just plays into the agenda of the enemy for those that are out there that don’t want to see us do well.”
Gallot then provided a challenge to the public. When speaking of Grambling, “say something good about Grambling.”
The president’s comments were similar to those of Jackson, who after it became publicly known that Briles was back in college football, released a statement through his foundation that supports victims of human trafficking suggesting that “people can and often do become re-traumatized and re-victimized by statements which may or may not be accurate” by mentioning the ex-Baylor coach by name.
“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,” a portion of Jackson’s statement said.
It might be impossible to support victims while also protecting and supporting the person who helped victimized them or was a part of the system that harmed them.
Also difficult is requesting former alums, current stakeholders, and anyone within the vicinity of your campus not be concerned that the institution employed a person who “failed to meet even the most basic expectations of how a person should react to the kind of conduct at issue in this case,” as deemed by an NCAA panel that evaluated Baylor’s handling of sexual assault allegations against the football program while Briles was there.
It also calls into question naming John Simon to replace Briles even though he left the Memphis program after being placed on administrative leave amid a Title IX and sexual misconduct complaint filed against him. The case was closed because Simon is no longer part of the university.
Gallot and Jackson want everyone to only pay attention to the big box store challenge or the real victims of assault in front of the curtain instead of their own decisions that caused the avalanche of condemnation in the first place.