QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Perhaps he was wrong, and perhaps I was also wrong.”
—Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor, to ESPN. Odor turned introspective in this Q&A, pondering the philosophical questions raised by his clock-cleaning of Toronto Blue Jays’s slugger Jose Bautista last month. For the Too Long, Did Not Read crowd, the overarching theme of Odor’s interview is basically “sorry, not sorry.”
Former Baylor football coach Art Briles, who was essentially fired because an independent report found the football program conducted its own investigations into sexual assault allegations made against players that discredited victims and intentionally ignored all the things you need to investigate when someone accuses another person of sexual assault, is now, in a rather unbelievable twist, claiming that he is also a victim who was wronged by the system. On Thursday, Briles’s attorney submitted a motion in a federal lawsuit filed against the school by a survivor who was raped by a football player, alleging Briles was wrongfully terminated and that Baylor is scapegoating him, according to the Associated Press. “The conclusion is inescapable that the motive of Baylor and the Board of Regents was to use its head football coach and the Baylor athletic department as a camouflage to disguise and distract from its own institutional failure,” Briles’s attorney wrote in the filing. A summary of the findings of the independent report into Baylor’s handling of sexual assault was pretty clear in its indictment of the football coaches at Baylor: “Football staff conducted their own untrained internal inquiries, outside of policy, which improperly discredited complainants and denied them the right to a fair, impartial and informed investigation… In [some] instances, football coaches or staff met directly with a complainant and/or a parent of a complainant and did not report the misconduct.” While Briles (or anyone else at Baylor) is never mentioned by name in the report summary, it’s pretty obvious that either he was actively involved in the scandal, or—at best for Briles—it was only the employees he was responsible for overseeing. Regardless, Briles has an uphill battle if he hopes to convince the court and the public that his hands are clean here.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Trumpdate: Day One
The first part of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s Texas swing concluded Thursday with a rally in Dallas, and things went pretty much as expected—which is to say, things were completely insane. “We have to stop people with hate in their heart from coming into our country,” Trump, who is arguably a person with hate in his heart and who is already in this country, said at the rally, according to the Dallas Morning News. As Trump stroked the ethnocentric and isolationist impulses of thousands of supporters attending the rally, hundreds of protesters gathered outside. Protesters were largely peaceful, though the Morning News writes that things were “tense” and there was a large police presence throughout. One person was arrested and a photographer was hit in the head with a rock, though he told the Morning News that he was pretty sure the rock wasn’t intended for him. At some point, police apparently had to form a human barrier to separate Trump supporters and protesters, a physical manifestation of Trump’s divisive discourse. Trump heads to San Antonio and Houston on Friday, so we have more of this to look forward to.
Texas Takes The “L”
Texas has lost its months-long court battle attempting to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in the Lone Star State. In December, Texas, led by Governor Greg Abbott, filed a lawsuit against the federal government and a Dallas-based aid group for doing its job—i.e., resettling refugees fleeing death and destruction in their war-torn country of Syria. The lawsuit claimed “a substantial threat that irreparable injury will result” from Syrians settling in Texas. That fear, of course, hasn’t come to fruition, which is hardly surprising considering the specific resettlement that spurred the lawsuit was that of a Syrian family that included two young children. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit on Thursday, claiming Texas didn’t have grounds to sue the federal government and didn’t provide a “plausible claim” that the refugee aid group breached its contract, according to the Texas Tribune. Since the lawsuit was filed, 229 Syrian refugees have resettled in Texas.
Austin police have apparently apprehended the alleged rock-wielding crook believed to be behind most of the rock-throwings that have plagued a stretch of Interstate-35 for two years. That man, according to police, is 59-year-old Patrick Eugene Johnson, an objectively weird dude who is apparently obsessed with toppling the tow truck industry and has a long rap sheet, including an active case in which he is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy. Johnson was charged on Thursday with attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and he faces up to ten years in prison. The chief of police said they’re working to pin an attempted murder charge on Johnson too. “Mr. Johnson’s likely going to spend the rest of his life in prison once we’re done with him,” Police Chief Art Acevedo said, according to the Austin American-Statesman. One victim suffered brain damage after his car was struck by a rock in 2014, and other victims have been seriously injured by Johnson’s alleged rock-throwing. Writes the Statesman: “For months… police said he had called 911 to report rock-throwing incidents or returned to the scenes of such incidents posing as a concerned citizen. He also had contacted the media about incidents soon after they happened, and, in at least one recent case, provided photographs of a damaged car.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Today’s featured NOPE, NO THANKS story: a human in a panda suit appears in every photo of this property listing Dallas Morning News
Two massive West Texas sinkholes are growing and might converge Fort Worth Star-Telegram
People are accusing a “thief” of cleaning out Austin’s *free* mini-libraries KXAN
A homeless man in Chicago reunited with his long-lost Texas children KAGS
Legendary Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson passed away earlier this week Austin American-Statesman