To a hungry man, even half a loaf is a feast.
Those of us hungry for a definitive word out Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday had grumbling stomachs after an 11-hour wait. The board of trustees at Ohio State University – sorry, Buckeyes, from now on you’re no longer worthy of the “The” – finally were able to wrangle a decision on Lyin’ Urban Meyer, the school’s football deity.
It was a half measure, a half-pound of flesh.
Meyer, who has had plenty of chances to admire and polish his three national championship rings after being suspended on Aug. 1, has been suspended for the first three games this season. The football aspect of this decision is only crucial to the die-hard Ohio State fans, the ones who have been making death threats to reporter Brett McMurphy and his 14-year-old daughter.
The world now knows how Ohio State measures the severity of domestic violence – a championship football coach missing one quarter of a season. And even the “three-game suspension” has a caveat. Meyer can help with team preparation in Week Two and Week Three (a non-conference showdown with TCU at AT&T Stadium) but he can’t return to game coaching until Week Four.
If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything. The loud and clear message is:
“Our coach committed a fireable offense. However, we value winning games and national championships over ethical standards, so it’s a slap on the wrist and move on.”
It took nearly half a day to come to a decision which is more right than wrong. School president Michael Blake was adamant that Meyer be suspended for games. The board didn’t agree with that and Meyer lobbied that his current suspension should be counted as time served so that he could coach in the season opener.
Let’s be clear about Meyer’s actions. In 2009 he hired Zach Smith, grandson of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce and an early mentor to Meyer, as a graduate assistant at Florida. Smith’s wife Courtney accused him of domestic violence in 2009.
In 2012, Meyer hired Smith to be an assistant coach in 2012. In 2015, Zach Smith allegedly attacked his wife again. Meyer fired Smith on July 23, three days after he was served with a civil protection order on behalf of his ex-wife, Courtney Smith.
On July 22, after McMurphy broke the story about the domestic violence incidents in Gainesville and Columbus.
A man who allegedly beat and terrorized his wife served on Meyer’s football staff and Meyer did nothing about it.
Meyer, one of the top five coaches in the country, a coach who is obsessed with team details down the last chin strap buckle, didn’t know about one of his assistant’s domestic violence tendencies even though his wife and other wives of assistants were aware that Courtney Smith was a punching bag and lived in fear of a husband so deranged he took pictures of his penis in a White House bathroom when the Buckeyes were at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to celebrate a national championship.
Or maybe he knew and forgot, since that’s apparently an issue for Urban.
Urban Meyer “has also periodically taken medicine that can negatively impair his
memory, concentration, and focus.” This is some kind of pretzel logic to suggest he didn’t lie at Big Ten media day: pic.twitter.com/1WA6g6Uzmp
— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) August 23, 2018
And what often happens in these news dumps is that significant information gets ignored. Ohio State’s announcement hints at a coverup. In 2015, the athletic director and the head coach discussed the abuse violation against Zach Smith (a situation that Meyer lied about at Big Ten media days), Meyer failed to tell his boss about the 2009 allegation.
Sorry, folks, but if that’s in the BoR’s findings, that’s the smoking gun that should have led to Meyer being fired. But at Ohio State, football is King and the coach is God.
Meyer’s job is win football games and he wins 90 percent of the time. Apparently Zach Smith, despite being a horrible person, is a helluva recruiter. He signed 5-stars and that apparently excuses everything short of felonies to qualify for Meyer’s staff.
The fact that Meyer threw a tantrum and balked at missing any games also helps explain the fraud who is coaching Ohio State. Basically, he was already pissed at missing his precious practices since Aug. 1.
“Dammit to hell, people, I’ve got a season to prepare for.”
That’s perfect miss-the-point, lack-of-self-awareness behavior one sees in powerful narcissists.
Meyer read from a prepared statement at Wednesday night’s news conference. It appeared it was a statement written for him and that he had just been handed.
“I am fully aware of the situation that has harmed the university as a whole,” Meyer read. “I followed my heart and not my head. At each juncture, I gave Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt. I should have been more demanding of him, as I am of my players. … I should have done more.”
What more could Meyer do?
Start out by apologizing to Courtney Smith and her children for failing to help protect them. (He mentioned “difficult lessons” that made it sound as though his suspension is equal to a woman being beaten by her husband. Later, asked about his message to Courtney Smith, Meyer fumbled on the goal line. “I have a message for everyone involved in this: I’m sorry we’re in this situation.”)
Announce he’s donating the amount of money he’s losing by being suspended to a battered women’s shelter in Columbus.
Apologize for lying at Big Ten media days. The board’s said that Meyer was “not complete and accurate.” Our society has certainly bloated the euphemism list for “lie.”
For Meyer, the first two would be simple and altruistic. Apologizing for his true nature would be … well, telling another lie.
Meyer will face dozens of news conferences this season (at least, after he returns). The majority of the questions will be mundane and Meyer’s answers will be typical coach speak. But when there’s a question of substance, if there are follow up questions regarding Zach Smith, Meyer would be smart to “no comment.” His ego, though, will reject that urge and he’ll further obfuscate what he believes is a version the truth.
The problem with Coaching Gods is they believe they’re job is to mold young men to win championships. They’re supposed to teach 18- to 22-year-olds how to be leaders, loving husbands and fathers. What we currently have, though, is a breakdown in the leadership system.
The President of the United States, according to the Toronto Star, has made 2,321 “false claims.” Tuesday, POTUS’ personal lawyer pled guilty to two campaign finance charges he testified were at the order of POTUS. That is close to “unindicted co-conspirator” territory.
Kellyanne Conway, one of POTUS’ staffers, talked of “alternative facts” soon after the inauguration. And Rudy Guliani, one of POTUS’ lawyers, recently said that “truth is not truth.”
Early in 2016, Donald Trump bragged about the loyalty of his supporters. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
If there was a Narcissists Anonymous Club, Trump and Meyer would be president and vice president.
When Meyer was coaching Florida, an NFL scout asked about tight end Aaron Hernandez. Trump told the scout Hernandez was not worth drafting. During his career at Florida, Hernandez started all but one game. He was good enough to help Meyer win, but he was a dangerous thug that the NFL should avoid.
Trump’s base cheers the lies and Ohio State fans ignore the fact that Meyer stacked lie upon lie upon lie at Big Ten media day. The man occupying the White House can be described as a lying con man who is delusional and entitled because of his “accomplishments.”
Just remember, Urban “The Liar” Meyer got there first.