The Baylor football scandal is fresh on everyone’s minds. The things that happened during the Art Briles era in Waco were deplorable. The only thing Art Briles may be able to hang his hat on is the fact that under his watch no one lost their lives. Dave Bliss can’t say that.
Disgraced is a documentary detailing the 2003 death of Patrick Dennehy during his tenure as a Baylor basketball player. I literally just finished watching this show so it’s very fresh of mind. Like many basketball coaches Dave Bliss did whatever it took to win. In some cases that could mean recruiting players with a sketchy background and a sketchy character. In some cases that could mean completely paying for a player all by himself. He did the latter with Patrick Dennehy.
I’m not going to get in depth into the details of this situation because most of you already know them. What I do want to talk about are the two things that stood out most in this documentary. The first is how much of a scumbag Dave Bliss is even now almost 14 years later. The second is the almost mafia like culture that seems to exist down in Waco in regard to Baylor University.
If you know this story you know what Dave Bliss did. When this scandal started, he concocted a complete and utter lie about Dennehy to cover his own ass and hopefully save his job. A 21-year-old kid was murdered and Bliss was content to throw him completely under the bus and paint him as a drug dealer. The tapes of Bliss were especially chilling. Here is a guy trying to talk his players into lying about Dennehy to save his ass so he doesn’t get discovered for the scumbag he really is.
I think the most chilling part about Bliss was not what he did back in 2003. It was the fact that he is still a complete and utter liar in 2017. During his interviews, Bliss still tries to paint the narrative that Dennehy was a drug dealer. He was even caught in a lie by the documentarian when questioned about whether he knew of the threats that Dennehy and Dotson received from a teammate. It’s been 14 freaking years why can’t you just come clean and fall on your sword. You aren’t getting prosecuted even now. It would probably honestly make you feel better to bare your soul and finally come clean.
That won’t happen though, that’s not who Bliss is. Instead we see footage of Bliss speaking at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting painting the narrative that he has learned from his mistakes. Bliss was just there to sell a book he wrote. The fact that Dave Bliss is coaching in basketball at any level is absolutely disgusting.
Now let’s talk about Baylor.
If you’ve been to Waco, Texas before you know without Baylor it is an absolutely nothing town. After watching this documentary, I now know that fact has allowed Baylor to do whatever they want and cover up whatever they want. You see this in two instances during this documentary. The first being with the fact that instead of hiring an independent investigative committee to go over this scandal they hired all Baylor employees. Every single person that investigated Dave Bliss was a Baylor employee. The second is how the trial of Carlton Dotson was handled. The District Attorney for McLennan County (Waco) was interviewed and stated that he wanted 60 years for the crime.
Mr. Dotson had two court appointed attorney’s that were both Baylor grads. They wanted 30 years for their client. The judge in the case was also a Baylor grad. In the end, Mr. Dotson was sentenced to 35 years in prison. 35 years for murder. Something just doesn’t seem right about that.
The single most chilling statement of this documentary came from one of Mr. Dotson’s former attorney’s. He stated, “Carlton Dotson wasn’t your cancer, he was a bi-product of the cancer” he went onto state that if Baylor did not open their doors and let someone truly investigate them and get to the bottom of these problems they will continue to happen.
I’m not sure if he was interviewed before the Art Briles scandal but if he was he couldn’t have been righter. 13 years later Baylor finds themselves amid another scandal and they are dealing with the aftermath. Maybe the problem wasn’t Briles or the football program maybe it was the culture that exists at Baylor and the way they’ll do anything to protect the school.
If that didn’t exist Patrick Dennehy may not be dead. If that didn’t exist there may not be numerous women who were sexually assaulted. Places like Baylor University are responsible for the fact that guys like Dave Bliss exist and feel like they can do anything and get away with it. I’m sure Art Briles will be coaching again soon too.
In 14 years, we’ll probably see Disgraced 2 and they’ll tell some of the same stories about how the people of Waco worked together to make this story go away