By Nancy Armour |
Urban Meyer’s breathtakingly bad judgment goes beyond his personnel decisions, media appearances and phone settings.
A day before his Ohio State team kicks off the season, Meyer took to Twitter on Friday morning to cherry-pick his way through the investigative findings that led to his three-game suspension. In his petulant attempt to “correct” the record, however, all he did was make himself look worse and confirm that his only remorse is in being held to account.
Quite the person you’ve gone all in on as your standard-bearer, Ohio State.
More than a month after Meyer was forced to fire Zach Smith when his history of domestic violence came to light, it’s clear the coach still doesn’t have a clue what this whole fiasco is about. A woman was beaten by her husband, with photographs, text messages and police reports that support her allegations, and Meyer enabled the abuser.
It doesn’t matter whether he did it out of ignorance, naivety, loyalty or self-preservation. By not informing Ohio State about Zach Smith’s 2009 arrest when he hired him in 2011 and, worse, not alerting athletic director Gene Smith after another incident in 2015, Meyer all but told his assistant coach that his behavior didn’t matter.
Meyer pins his defense on investigators saying they believed he would have fired Zach Smith on the spot if he “came to learn or believe” he’d abused his wife. And therein lies the problem.
Meyer did learn, in 2009, that Smith had abused his wife, who was pregnant at the time. Smith was arrested, and the report by the Gainesville, Florida police labels him as the aggressor. Yet Meyer acknowledges, even know, that he doesn’t think abuse occurred. That it was, as he termed it at Big Ten media days, a “he said, she said” story.
That is not a determination for Meyer to make. It’s for police, prosecutors and attorneys. The legion of Meyer and Ohio State fans who have delighted in trashing Courtney Smith point to the lack of any charges against Zach Smith, which is true. But if you know anything about domestic violence, you know how little that means.
Domestic abuse cases are notoriously hard to prosecute, and victims opt not to press charges for myriad of reasons. But the absence of charges does not equal absence of abuse. If Meyer had as much “respect for women” as he claims, he’d know this. Or at least have bothered to try and learn about it after 2009, rather than anointing himself as the Smiths’ marriage counselor.
This article was republished with permission from the original author and 2015 Ronald Reagan Media Award recipient, Nancy Armour, and the original publisher, USA Today. Follow columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.