NORMAN — Given the context of the weekend and all the troublesome noise that continues to come out of Baylor, and the fact that the Oklahoma Sooners play Baylor on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, I asked OU football coach Bob Stoops on Monday during his weekly press conference his feelings about it.
Stoops and the OU program hosted sexual violence activist Brenda Tracy earlier this season, and heard her powerful message about being a rape victim in the realm of college athletics. Tracy continues to be victimized on social media by obscene Baylor fans who keep coming out in support of fired coach Art Briles.
Before Saturday’s 62-22 loss to TCU, Baylor fans sold “CAB” (Coach Art Briles) t-shirts outside the stadium. Also, a “CAB” banner was flown from one of the suites at McLane Stadium. And the Baylor assistant coaches issued a statement earlier in the day declaring their support for Briles.
“I don’t know anything about that,” Stoops told me. “Let me say this: Brenda did an incredible job here. We loved having her. I look forward to having her back. I, in particular, called her—I remember just hearing something — I called her just to keep encouraging her. When walked into the TCU game, before I went in and got dressed for the game, I remember calling her and having a good conversation with her, that she’s doing the right things, to keep spreading her message, that it’ll make a difference, and she’s an incredibly brave and strong person to be able to affect change or try to affect change the way she is. And I hope to be — I know in our coaches convention, we’re gonna recognize her and she’s gonna be there for something, and I told her if at all — it’d have to be some big reason for me to not be there and to support her and again, let her know how we all appreciate her. So I hope she’ll continue to spread her message.”
I asked Stoops, as CEO of his own football program, what he thought of all the noise that continues to come out of Waco that only serves to marginalize and insult the survivors.
“Um, I’m not part of the noise,” Stoops said. “Don’t assume that I see and read and know all the noise. I don’t. I have a program and a team to lead, and that’s what I focus my attention on. Your job is to read all that. … That isn’t my job. I’m very careful to have too strong a comment on something I’m not informed about. And I’m not. My support, as you just heard, is for Brenda. In every way. She has a very strong and powerful message that people need to hear, so we’re there for her in every way, and anyone who — hopefully she can continue to affect change the way she’s trying to do it.”
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard on The Franchise Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. every weekday with co-host Lauren Rew and most mornings on The Franchise in Oklahoma City. Listen on fm107.9, am1270 on the 107.7 Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page.