It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out Urban Meyer did not have the best week of his life. New damning allegations casted a rather dark cloud over the veteran coach and Ohio State placed him on paid administrative leave because of it.
This was far from ideal. Buckeyes Nation should be celebrating the No. 3 ranking in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll. Instead, the entire school, football program, and its fan base have pondered whether or not Meyer knew about domestic violence allegations involving former assistant wide receivers coach Zach Smith and his wife, Courtney Smith, in 2015, and if the longtime head coach lied at Big Ten Media Days.
Well, the wait for Meyer to speak is over, and he addressed every hot-button topic in a statement released Friday afternoon on Twitter:
Dear Buckeye Nation:
My heart is heavy today as I witness the toll that events of the past week have taken on the Buckeye Family and the university community that I love so dearly.
When I stand before the 105 young men in our football program and talk about core values and doing the right thing and respecting women it is not lip-service. I genuinely believe that we have an obligation to help develop the young men in our charge into positive change agents and that responsibility rests with me.
Over the past several days, I have been portrayed as being indifferent to domestic violence and as someone who did not take appropriate action, when warranted. While over three decades of coaching I have learned to ignore how others define me. I do feel it necessary to share the truth with the Buckeye family.
Here is the truth: While at the University of Florida, and now at The Ohio State University, I have always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to to the proper channels. And, I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015. I take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.
The power of what I say and how I say it, especially regarding sensitive and serious domestic issues, has never been more evident than now. My words, whether in a replay to a reporter’s question or in addressing a personnel issue, must be clear, compassionate, and most of all, completely accurate. Unfortunately, at Big Ten Media Days on July 24th, I failed on many of these fronts. My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading. However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions.
I understand that there are more questions to be answered and I look forward to doing just that with the independent investigators retained by the University and I will cooperate fully with them. At the appropriate time, I will also address the questions and speculation in a public forum. But for now, out of respect fo the ongoing inquiry, I will refrain at this time.
Please know that the truth is the ultimate power and I am confident that I took appropriate action. As I stated above, I deeply regret if I have failed in my words. As the son of an amazing woman and the husband to another and, as a father of two incredible young women, those who know me best know the admiration and respect I have for all women. Our core values are just that — values that do not ever waver.
I ask that you continue to support the incredible coaches and student-athletes in our program, and I look forward to rejoining them soon.
It’s hard to decide whether this is all true and genuine, or whether this statement was simply published to save face.
Unfortunately, and despite there probably being a lot of truth in those nearly 500 words, it feels like the latter.
The public scrutiny and backlash Meyer has received amid these allegations has been rough. Waiting another week, or until he was off administrative leave when some of the dust had settled, probably could have done this situation a lot of good.
However, the sports world got a long statement posted on social media in the middle of Friday afternoon.
What will happen next is only anyone’s guess at this point.
This terrible week might be over, but the situation doesn’t have an end in sight.