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Art Briles, Chris Petersen, Hearsay, and Your Maniacal Rush to Judgement

Today's Slate is your jumping-off point to about 10,000 words of awesome.

He probably can't even do THIS for months now.
He probably can't even do THIS for months now.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Football rapidly approaches, but the big news over the weekend was the potential scandal at Baylor involving the transfer of Sam Ukwuachu, a.k.a. "What did Art Briles Know and When Did He Know It." I've personally sort of avoided that topic, other than to slap down some imbeciles on Twitter who either have the facts wrong or have the temerity to claim certainty over who said what to whom based on their incisive and detailed knowledge of absolutely nothing.

I don't know whether Art Briles did something wrong or not. It could very well be that he knew nothing about the allegations in Boise. It could very well be that Chris Petersen didn't even know all the details about the allegations in Boise. The fact that Sam Ukwuachu's records have nothing in them about disciplinary actions taken at Boise State is sort of damning evidence; it means the only way Briles could know is if Petersen told him. But since I don't know what was said between Briles and Petersen, it is patently obvious that I also do not know whether Briles knew anything or not. Logic is pretty simple. He might have known. He might not. But what I do know, without any doubt whatsoever, is this: You don't know either, so if you're one of the rabid finger-tappers spewing your asinine certainty all over the internet, stop it. You know jack and diddly, and all your screaming about what a sleazeball Art Briles is has no more validity than my claim to be the Emperor of Tahiti.

And considering the fact that once you wade past the click-bait headlines spewed by traffic-hungry journalists to get what was really in the statements issued by Briles and Petersen, a funny thing actually emerges: they both have substantially similar recollections of the conversation. They aren't calling one another liars. The press has decided that they should. Contemplate that, if you will.

And then there's the mouth-breathing amphibian who, when asked if he thought it would have been appropriate for Baylor to let Ukwuachu play if he had been acquitted, said that he'd have to read over the case files. Why? Because being found innocent doesn't mean you're not guilty. No, really, he actually said that. I mean, it's not like the words that come out of the jury foreman's mouth when they acquit are "not guilty" or anything, right?

That guy, and a certain national college football trollpundit on a certain Murdoch-owned network, actually seem to think that once you've been tried and acquitted you should still be punished for... well, I guess for being accused of something? I don't know. The logic completely escapes me. This is a complete travesty, and it's the pinnacle of intellectual dishonesty. There is a reason why you are innocent until proven guilty in every civilized society known to humanity. It's because if we presume you're guilty before a trial, then certain actions will be taken against you which we really can't adequately remedy after the fact. That's not proper. It is neither the letter nor spirit of the law. That is why we wait until judgement is handed down to punish, even though in some instances we might temporarily suspend the accused's ability to do certain things.

Like, say, use him in order to field a successful football team. But unlike, say, allow him to continue his education.

What we're getting at here is this: our society has become so addicted to the endorphine rush of scandal and controversy and outrage that when Something Bad Happens, it's a surprise people aren't riding around the streets on Appaloosas twirling lassos. The hivemind wants JUSTICE! NOW! AND JUSTICE IS WHATEVER WE SAY IT IS!



Justice comes at its own pace. While we wait, the accused gets to continue doing most things unless there's a damned good reason for not letting them, and isn't allowed to do others if there's a damned good reason to prevent it. For example, making Ukwuachu change his class schedule would have been a perfectly acceptable thing to do, because all that is to him is an inconvenience. He'd have been allowed to continue his education, and the accused would have been protected from having to sit in the same room with the man she's accusing of rape. But you don't take punitive action against someone who hasn't been convicted yet.

Do you understand that this is the reason bail exists? It's not so you don't have to sit in jail, although that's certainly a relevant benefit. It's so you can go about your business while awaiting trial, having provided some security to the state to help ensure you'll actually be there. It's all part of the basic presumption that until you've been tried and convicted, you are not guilty, and in the event you are acquitted, you get to go back to doing your thing without consequence.

In theory, anyway. Our society has become so bloodthirsty and cocksure that even when someone is acquitted, their life is likely ruined. And every single person who has ever behaved in a manner which contributes to this should feel nothing whatsoever but shame as they read this paragraph.

So, really internet, knock it off. There's more than enough stupid in the world without you compounding it. And as for the media, you need to knock it off too. Yes, I get that revenue is vitally important, and that the perception of getting to a story first has weight with... well, your competitors, I guess. Frankly, your readers and viewers don't give a flying fig. Me, I'll be sitting over here reading tweets and e-mails and comments from people who are so fed up they're THIS CLOSE to just getting all their news from SB Nation.

But enough of my shocking and heretical opinions. Over the weekend TB weighed in on the need for accountability when legitimately trying to offer a troubled kid a second chance, and wildcatOO followed up with a crystal-clear examination of the facts behind the situation and an observation that the forest isn't being seen for the football-shaped trees. If you haven't read these two pieces, I strongly urge you to do so now, as well as Spencer Hall's fantastic editorial on how to say you're sorry.

Aside from all that happy fun stuff, we had other happy fun stuff! Like KSUEMAW! reporting that Jordy Nelson has torn his ACL. Or Luke expanding on that report with more details. Or double-ought reporting that K-State only got five points in the AP preseason poll.

Well, okay. None of that was fun. But these were! Your Benevolent Despot recapped THE FIRST COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME OF THE 2015 SEASON, and did a double-dose of diligent description regarding a pair of HBCU conferences. We've finished our Division II previews with the CIAA, and started on FCS with the SWAC. And Bracket hit 13 days to go with his profile of Steven West.

Not previously, but coming up: today we've got a ton of stuff for your reading pleasure, so you're going to want to cling tightly to our ample... well, bellies, I guess. We've got today's countdown entry, featuring a team captain, yo. We've got the first part of a two-part piece by Curtis Kitchen you won't want to miss. We've got Bring on the Podcast with an old buddy that we might be seeing more of. And finally, unless something crazy happens and we have to do even more work, we've got today's Preseason Conditioning, where we'll get back to Picking the Big 12 with week three and preview the Southland and Southern Conferences. That means that at 2pm today you can open our front page and see a picture of Daniel Sams, and what more could you possibly ask of us?

There's no real news today that we haven't already hit, so we'll close today's Slate with this piece from the Star's Rick Montgomery about what the area's small colleges are doing in order to keep enrollment up in an environment where the liberal arts are seen as dying and tuitions are spiraling out of control. It's a neat story, worth checking out.