Baylor continues to make of a mess of the numerous allegations of sexual assault and violence against its players.
The latest misstep was uncovered in an ESPN Outside The Lines report Thursday. ESPN learned that offensive lineman Rami Hammad — who was arrested on Monday on felony charges for stalking his ex-girlfriend — had been accused of sexual assault by another woman last fall and he violated a school imposed no-contact order with the woman. Despite the allegations, Hammad was never suspended and was allowed to play the full season.
New Baylor coach Jim Grobe has the unenviable task of trying to fix a program that has come under fire for its handling of the many sexual assault cases involving players. And Grobe has already received some flak for trying to minimize the school’s issues, saying at a news conference last month, “the problems that we’re dealing with at Baylor and have dealt with at Baylor, to this point, are problems that are probably at every university in the country.”
At today’s season kickoff press conference, Grobe again came off a bit tone-deaf when addressing the Rami Hammad arrest.
It’s really disappointing, and hopefully we’ll hang in there and find a way to get the job done. But that certainly hurts our depth, there’s no question about it. I’m disappointed this happened with Rami and there’s no question it hurts us. It makes it just that much harder to try to figure out how to keep our offensive line guys fresh.”
Offensive line depth? THAT’S the focus here?
To provide full context, here is the question Grobe was responding to:
You mention the depth of the offensive line — and how disappointing was it this week with the news of Rami Hammad who just takes away from that? And then just that right before they reported to camp?
So, okay. The question — hardly Pulitzer-worthy — was about offensive line depth. But that doesn’t mean you have to answer it. (And indeed, Grobe said that none of the players or assistant coaches would answer questions pertaining to the scandal throughout the season.) You could always say something like “we don’t care about offensive line depth. Our focus is on getting to the bottom of this horrible situation, because these are serious allegations, and we take them very seriously.”
Of course, if the ESPN report is accurate, then Baylor still doesn’t take such allegations seriously, because Hammad was still on the roster until his arrest on Monday.
(h/t ESPN, Max Olson)
[image via screengrab]
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