Urban Meyer has been suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season. He, also, will remain on paid administrative leave through September 2nd. Although he will not be able to coach in games once he returns from leave, he will be able to work with the team in practices and meetings as usual. The announcement came around 9 p.m. last night, after nearly twelve hours of deliberations. Lead investigator Mary Jo White, university president Michael Drake and athletic director Gene Smith all spoke before Meyer at the press conference. He did not look happy as he quickly read what came across as a hastily prepared statement. It became known late in the afternoon, Drake was in favor of a suspension, but Meyer did not want to accept it. To say Drake look quite pleased at the press conference is an understatement.
Meyer apologized to “Buckeye Nation” and said his relationship with Zach Smith’s grandfather, Earle Bruce, affected his decision-making, “At each juncture I gave Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt.” He went on to say if he had known more, he would have acted quicker in his handling of Smith. Meyer, also, said he did a poor job at Big Ten Media Day, ”..but there was no intent to mislead.” The investigative team agreed with this. He said the buck stops with him when it concerns the behavior of those in the football program and he missed red flags concerning Smith, “..there was some behavior going on that maybe I was unaware of, but I should have been aware of it.” When asked if he feels he should have been suspended, Meyer said, “I trust and support our president.”
Mary Jo White said the committee interviewed 40 witnesses, some of those more than once. They looked at thousands and thousands of emails and texts. She said the committee believed Meyer and Gene Smith “acted in good faith,” but did not properly report the allegations against Zach Smith “to compliance.” The committee felt, although there were no arrests made, Meyer and Gene Smith should have alerted others at the university so a determination of whether or not an internal investigation was necessary. She pointed out, in domestic situations, many times an arrest is not made and you Meyer should not have relied an entirely on the actions of law enforcement. Another point made by White and the committee is they found no evidence of a cover-up as has been alleged by many in the media. But, this won’t stop them from plowing ahead with reporting only the facts that suit them.
Pushing Their Agenda
While watching ESPN’s coverage after the press conference, no less than four ESPN reporters referred to Courtney Smith as a “victim.” She is an ALLEGED victim. That is not “victim shaming”, it’s a fact. She made allegations and others refuted them. Nine police reports and no arrests. Delaware County prosecutor investigated and found there was not enough evidence to file charges. She is an ALLEGED victim, who has not had one person corroborate her claims. The mothers of Zach and Courtney Smith both said she was the aggressor. Tina Carano, Courtney’s mother, said her daughter is lying and the only time Zach put his hands on her was in self-defense. But, that doesn’t matter to ESPN because it doesn’t fit into their agenda. I’ll give them credit for being consistent. Their coverage of this story was one-sided in the beginning and it was more of the same last night.
ESPN attacked and ripped apart everything Meyer said last night. SEC shill Paul Finebaum said he felt Meyer was “petulant” and “arrogant.” Meyer was criticized for asking reporters to repeat a question. This happened multiple times. What ESPN fails to point out is those were two-part questions and Meyer asked for the second part to be repeated after answering the first part. They saved their heaviest criticism for when he was asked what he had to say to Courtney Smith. “I’m sorry we’re in this situation. I’m just sorry we’re in this situation”, he said.
From the beginning, ESPN has taken accused liar Courtney Smith’s word as the gospel truth and ignored any allegations to the contrary. They have pushed an agenda instead of reporting any new development to the story, if it didn’t fit that agenda. By doing this, they have misled the public and allowed viewers and readers of their website to form an opinion without all of the facts being presented. This is not how news works. The entirety of ESPN’s reporting and anchor staff has now lost all credibility with me because they could not be objective and do their job as a news outlet.
For those who have never read my blog before, I spent over 27 years in the news industry. I’m quite well qualified to comment on how a news organization chooses to cover a story.
My Two Cents
When I first looked at the committee’s findings, I felt a suspension was justified. But, after reading the report, I don’t agree with the suspension. The report says, “We have found no other facts giving rise to violations of policy, rules, law, or contractual obligations by Coach Meyer or AD Smith in connection with alleged domestic violence by Zach Smith.” I think Meyer’s suspension is as much about the university president wanting to make a good showing for the media and public, and show the academic world he’s a strong leader as anything.
In the next few days, I’m going to try to do a blog breaking down the report’s findings. Stay tuned.
The media is going to be all over this vilifying Meyer and Ohio State. I’ve stopped reading or listening to any of it. I suggest you do the same.