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The Texas hire of pro-Briles staffer is disturbing

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Casey Horny wanted you to believe that Art Briles was the real victim at Baylor.

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Christian Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, former Baylor Bears staffer Casey Horny announced his return to the Texas Longhorns as a special teams quality control assistant, but while his reunion with head coach Tom Herman provided further evidence of Herman’s commitment to alignment, it also raised serious concerns.

That’s because Horny was a vocal supporter of disgraced former Baylor head coach Art Briles on social media, like many other staff members for the Bears.

Horny still publicly supported Briles even though Pepper Hamilton’s Findings of Fact concluded that Briles and his staff helped foster a culture failed to “identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player, to take action in response to reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, and to take action in response to a report of dating violence.”

Even though extensive reporting by ESPN and other outlets helped reveal the depths of the issues at Baylor, which included an alleged gang rape by football players that the school said Briles knew about, but did not report.

Even though Baylor settled a lawsuit with those victims and numerous other victims.

And yet, Horny was one of the coaches on social media who issued a statement defending Briles:

Horny has since deleted that tweet, along with another tweet defending former head coach Jim Grobe for statements about the dismissal of Jeremy Faulk with the absurd hashtag #TRUTHDONTLIE:

But the scrubbing of Horny’s Twitter account still left some implicit praise for the character of Briles:

He also seemingly impugned the investigative journalism that helped expose the scandal in Waco:

Tweets like these emboldened the conspiracy theorists among the Baylor fan base who believed that media entities were unfairly targeting the university, making the problem worse by providing a public impediment to the necessary changes to the university as a whole — and the football culture specifically — and causing continued trauma for the victims.

So while Horny likely wasn’t directly involved in any of the wrongdoing at Baylor, he still defended and excused it. Furthermore, it’s difficult to say what other unseemly support he may have expressed for Briles and later deleted.

Now he’s employed by a football program that has four players who signed with Baylor, but came to Texas to get away from the rotten culture in Waco. Is this what they wanted when they decided to play for former head coach Charlie Strong?

Whatever alignment Horny has with Herman from their time together at Texas and then Sam Houston State also comes with the baggage of excusing a head coach who was fired for disregarding the rights of victims of sexual assault and dating violence.

When Herman meets with the media on National Signing Day, he should be held accountable for this hire and explain the vetting process that made him comfortable with hiring Horny after his outspoken support for Briles and presence on the Baylor staff during the scandal.

The significant number of fans concerned about this hire deserve that explanation.

I’m proud to be a Texas alum because the university, while far from perfect, takes sexual assault seriously. It has good people making positive advancements in dealing with sexual assault and has pro-actively worked to improve university processes through actions like commissioning the “most comprehensive sexual assault study in higher education.”

The system chancellor, Bill McRaven, capably and effectively dealt with sexual assault issues in the Navy and even took the time to talk to a concerned rape victim about the feasibility of a more robust online reporting system.

I am proud of those efforts and am committed to holding the university to the highest of standards when it comes to sexual assault.

Because of that, I’m not proud of Herman for making this hiring decision — it raises questions for me about whether he wants to win at all costs.

I hope that’s not the case, but I’m now less sure of that today than I was yesterday.

I’m not proud to say that my university now employs a football staff member who went so far out of his way to excuse the actions of a man like Art Briles.

That does not align with my values.