Meyer Makes Statement on Aaron Hernandez

By Chris Lauderback on July 6, 2013 at 11:08a

Finally breaking his silence on a story that just won't go away, Urban Meyer exchanged texts with Tim May this morning to offer some thoughts on the Aaron Hernandez saga: 

"Prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim. Relating or blaming these serious charges to the University of Florida, myself or our staff is wrong and irresponsible."

Meyer told May he decided to say something after inaccuracies of how Hernandez was treated at Florida surfaced this week:

“I just received an email from a friend where there is an accusation of multiple failed drug tests by Hernandez covered up by University of Florida or the coaching staff. This is absolutely not true. Hernandez was held to the same drug testing policy as every other player.”

“He was an athlete at Florida 4 -7 yrs ago and there are some comments being made that are not correct. Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide him.”

The media wanted Meyer to address the situation and now he has. Think that'll satisfy the trolls? We don't either. Rest assured, they are all sitting at their keyboards now ripping these statements to shreds. Get ready for more hyperbole of the highest order. 


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Chief B1G Dump's picture

There is no accountability for the media anymore. It used to be that getting a story correct and accurate was your reputation. Now these "writers" just throw a bunch of shit against a wall and see what sticks. They have absolutely no punishment and/or remorse for getting anything wrong or having inaccuracies. I'm not just referring to the Meyer reporting but that does happen to be a prime example.

dubjayfootball90's picture

Exactly. It is sad that Meyer had to come out and offer a statement when he did not owe it to anyone, but the fact that these writers and reporters are just blowing smoke anywhere and everywhere is absurd and completely erroneous. And that goes for the majority of stories, not just Meyer, UF and tOSU. It is sad that it is in the state that it is in at the moment, but you hit the nail on the head.
Agree with you 100%.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Silverbuck8's picture

Very well said.   The media often wants to create news rather than write or tell the news.  Anyone today can become a blogger and too often people assume anything in print is the truth.

AndyVance's picture

As others have noted, the challenge in consuming sports media today (like political media) is that there is next to no separation between journalism and punditry. To some extent that is a function of the "24-hour news cycle" or the social media culture. In another sense it's a byproduct of the fact that we (11Warriors like me included) are now following college football (insert other sport of choice here) 24/7, all year long, and not just in the part of the year roughly defined by the season itself.
Alas, both circumstances conspire to create stories like this one. As Hodge said below, when ESPN's app alerted me to the "breaking news" that "Urban Meyer breaks his silence" on Hernandez, I was disgusted.

Hello_Heisman's picture

Big Dump - agree that it is shoddy journalism to insinuate that Meyer was responsible for or enabled the actions of Hernandez.  Unfortunately for Meyer, there were 30-some players who ran into trouble with the law during his time at UF.  That will always be his cross to bear, so to speak.  Because there is already an established narrative about his players' off-the-field issues at UF, to the extent that any of them screw up publicly now or in future years, this will shed a negative light on Meyer.  You don't have to like it, but as a college coach the actions of your current and former players will affect your reputation. Therefore, if you are aggressive about taking chances on kids with questionable character issues because you think it will help you win more games, you have to be willing to deal with the PR fall-out if/when they get into trouble.  
Meyer's problem isn't Hernandez.  His problem is the collective list of players who ran into  trouble at UF.  As far as his professional reputation is concerned, they're all like ticking time bombs waiting to explode in his face after the fact.  Had Meyer run a program without a large number of off-the-field incidents at UF, it's unlikely you'd see his name come up in any of these articles about Hernandez.  It's one of several reasons why nobody mentioned John McKay's name when OJ went off the deep end.
Like it or not, he won lots of games at UF with a number of players who had problems.  If he's going to take credit for winning two national championships on the backs of those players, he has to be willing to accept the bad press and heat he's going to catch whenever they screw up.  It's not fair, but it comes with the territory of running a big time college football program.

60% of the time it works.....every time

acBuckeye's picture

I somewhat agree. But look at UT under Mack Brown and the ridiculous number of arrests under his watch. You don't hear his name being dragged through the mud. Meyer is being blasted bc he's now the head coach of tOSU. Simple as that. People hate us, and we just have to laugh it off and move on. The media is a complete farce now days. 

Hello_Heisman's picture

Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no more of a national media conspiracy against OSU than there is any other major program.  The scrutiny that Meyer draws in the media began while he was at UF and is specific to him, not OSU.  You're just overly sensitive to it because the media baggage he brought with him to Columbus came on the heels of Tat-Gate.  He would be drawing this same scrutiny in the wake of the Hernandez case whether he ended up at OSU, Notre Dame, Michigan or any other big-time program.

60% of the time it works.....every time

rdubs's picture

His point is that the number of arrests at UF was not some unprecedented number.  Others have had large numbers arrested, but there is no national outcry or claim that the coach is evil.  Around here John Cooper was thought to have lost his team because of arrests and other bad behavior, but no one is blaming him for any of his former players' behavior.  
Heck if you want to blame a coach/college for a death, look at ND and how they handled the rape of that woman by a football player.  Her suicide can at least in part be on the response of ND in not providing her sufficient support following that trauma and sweeping it all under the rug.
Also there is insufficient blame put on SMU for the death of all those hookers at the hands of Craig James.

AndyVance's picture

This is a good - and important - point, RDUBS. Coaches have no control over their players' conduct after they leave the program, and they quite probably have very little actual control over their conduct while they're part of the program - influence, yes, control, not so much.
What is fair to discuss re: UFM and Florida is if the staff tended to recruit players with more potential for getting into trouble (and here I'm not talking about murder, but any trouble - say the sort of trouble that led Urban to cut a certain future Heisman trophy winner) in the first place. Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers poses the theory that men of a certain age from the South may already be predisposed to getting into physical altercations (yes, I am aware that Hernandez was from Bristol, not Birmingham), so that may also account for the disparity between arrests among SEC football players and those playing for Big Ten schools...
Many of us have commented, however, that Meyer's first two-and-a-half recruiting classes at Ohio State appear to consist of classy young men with good heads on their shoulders, solid commitments to "making Ohio proud," and strong support systems. While young men can and often do make mistakes, sometimes of the well-publicized and unfortunate variety, we hope, and might even presume, that these men's names won't end up on the police blotter at a very high frequency.

acBuckeye's picture

No.... I'm pretty sure the execs over at the 4 Letter and across the country know that OSU and it's fans make news. (Ramzy has talked about this many times.) So yes, something minor that happens at our campus will be front-page news; the same cannot be said at other major programs. Writers have axes to grind, for whatever reason. When they get a chance to blast someone in their cross-hairs, they will gladly relish in that opportunity. And for some reason, OSU and it's fans have drawn a ton of scorn from the media over the years. The media LOVED Meyer at Florida. He comes to Ohio State, a program many of them hate, and now Meyer's one of the bad guys.
So actually, my bubble wasn't burst. Still in tact. The fact that Meyer had to personally address the Hernandez situation in public is absolutely ridiculous.

Hello_Heisman's picture

Agree that Meyer shouldn't have had to address the Hernandez allegations as clearly he's not at fault for Hernandez's actions. 
Disagree with your point about the media bias being specific to OSU.  The media loved Meyer until he started pulling the Brett Favre routine (I'm leaving/I'm staying/I'm leaving) at UF and the team started losing more games.  The media began turning on him in 2010 and this continued into 2011 because of the way he left UF.  He then brought a tarnished PR image with him to OSU, which itself had just gone through a PR nightmare with Tat-Gate. 
The media loves to focus on scandals and perceived scandals at big institutions with big name stars.  This whole notion that "It only happens to OSU" is incredibly small-minded.  USC fans (Reggie Bush/Pete Carroll/Lane Kiffin), Penn State fans (Paterno/Sandusky), Michigan fans (RichRod/Detroit Free Press), Notre Dame fans (Charlie Weiss era, recruiting departures under Brian Kelly), Auburn fans (Cam Newton, illicit courting of Bobby Petrino) and Texas fans (Mack Brown rumors) can name you plenty of recent examples where it felt like their programs, key players and coaches were unnecessarily dragged through the mud by ESPN, SI and other major media outlets.  The only difference is that you don't see these programs constantly chirping about how ESPN has it out for THEM only and nobody else. 
The big boy programs draw the ratings, both with their on-field product and off-field drama.  OSU is a big boy program, so as a fanbase you guys should put your big boy pants on and realize that right or wrong, your program is one of 10 or 20 that will continually be in the media's crosshairs.  Yes, it may mean that certain members of the media will have an ax to grind with your coaches or key players.  Yes, it may mean that columnists will look for opportunities to write negative articles because there's a lot more intrigue in a potential scandal than a boring complimentary piece on the team.  But it also means that you'll start the season ranked higher than most other teams simply because of your brand name.  It means that you'll likely end up in a better bowl game than most teams, regardless of record.  It means that your top players will receive better press for potential Heisman consideration than most other schools.  And it means that many of the top high school players in the country will gravitate to your program because of everything they've seen and read about you while growing up.   
I'm not disputing that Meyer's name has been unfairly dragged through the mud or that OSU took it on the chin from the media during Tat-Gate.  It sucked to deal with, and in a lot of instances was not fair.  But what you need to understand was that it wasn't because of any specific bias against Ohio State the school or Ohio State the football program.  It simply happened because Ohio State and Urban Meyer are two big targets, just like Michigan and Rich Rodriguez, just like Penn State and Joe Paterno.  The facts of each case may vary and in some, may warrant more legitimate media scrutiny than others.  But the bottom line is that big names draw the headlines, and OSU is not the only big name out there going through its battles with the media. 
I struggle to understand why elements of the OSU fanbase insist that they're the only ones who have to deal with media bias from the major outlets. 

60% of the time it works.....every time

Germanpancakes's picture

Even when Meyer was Coach at Florida you never heard ESPN mention a word. And what about Texas A&m and their assault charges on their team of late. No bad mouthing Sumlin? He is the new ESPN saint.

Hello_Heisman's picture

GermanPancakes - not sure about that.  All the arrest stuff broke while Meyer was in the latter part of his run at UF and I remember it being reported all over the place, including at ESPN.  
As for the A&M assault charges, do a google search on "Texas A&M football assault charges" and you'll see a link to an story on this dated July 1.  Much like every other major media report on the story, it sticks to the limited facts that are known and doesn't comment on Sumlin's style of running a program.  This is the same way that the initial arrests at UF were reported by the mainstream media in 2008-2010.  It was only after they had accumulated to an embarrassingly large number and UF started to struggle on the field that more of the commentary around Meyer started coming out.  Note that this began in earnest BEFORE Meyer ever took over at OSU.  
I've read some other posts on here that indicate other troubled programs from the past never caught the same flack that Meyer has been catching.  I respectfully disagree, and below are a few examples:
- Alabama, late 90's/early 00's:  one highly publicized scandal after another with the Tide ended up costing Gene Stallings and Mike DuBose their jobs, and who can forget the Sports Illustrated exposé on newly hired coach Mike Price and the alleged "Roll Tide!" incident at the strip club?  Price was a successful coach with no prior known problems and within days of the SI article, he was fired before he ever got to coach a single practice, much less a game.  If you thought Tat-Gate was embarrassing or that Meyer's getting treated poorly by the media, I suggest you talk to Mike Price and his family to see how they felt at the time.  The media scrutiny from the in incident ruined his coaching career.
- Miami, late 80's-mid 90's:  I saw some posts indicate that nobody ever made a big deal about Miami when Ray Lewis got busted in 2000.  The reason for that is because the media had been tearing apart The U for the prior 15 years.  When people found out that Lewis was a Miami guy, their first instinct was "well that makes sense."  While no specific Miami coach got his name dragged around as bad as Price, the entire program was mocked by every major publisher and broadcaster for their off-the-field issues.   This all culminated in a 1995 SI cover story arguing that the Miami football program should be disbanded entirely.  For all the alleged media bias against OSU, I'm pretty sure I've never seen a major media source calling for the full elimination of the Buckeye football program.
- Oklahoma, late 80's:  I saw some other posts on here indicating that Barry Switzer never caught the same heat as Meyer is now catching for all the arrests and other incidents that happened to OU football in the second half of the 80's.  I think this is because it happened so long ago that people now forget what a firestorm he was under at the time he "voluntarily" resigned.  In fact, here's a 1989 article about Switzer's resignation from the NYT that looks and feels a lot like the current stuff about Meyer.
Keep in mind that for the Miami and OU stuff, there was no social media and hardly any Internet presence in the coverage of these scandals.  Part of why the Meyer/UF stuff seems more annoying is because we live in the age of 24/7 coverage of everything.  Had the OU and Miami issues hit in more current times, they would absolutely have gotten the same persistent coverage as the UF arrests.
My point to all this is that there is no specific media bias against OSU.  The media is biased towards scandalous stories at prominent programs that will draw plenty of readers.  So if a successful head coach bolts one major program with a recent history of "off-the-field" issues under his watch for another major program who is in the midst of NCAA review and eventual sanctions for its own "off-the-field" issues.....then yeah, that's going to generate a lot more media coverage than whatever recruiting violations may or may not be happening at South Dakota State.  

60% of the time it works.....every time

southbymidwest's picture

Yes, BUT... this was reported at the time of the incidents/arrests. Not five years later after the coach had moved on to another high level program.

MAVBuck's picture

If its on the internet it must be true

otrain2416's picture

Funny how no one can be accountable for their actions anymore there's always someone to blame. Classy statement by Urban couldn't have said it better.

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

TLB's picture

Wouldn't it be great if we were all as perfect as everyone in the media?

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

"Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide him.”

What more can you ask for???

Bucks's picture

What the heck do you mean? I'm still pissed that after my schooling, my professors & advisors didn't hold my hand through being employed. It was their fault I didn't get some of my first choices. When my eval period comes up now, any screw up is directly a reflection of their failing and enabling.
Kidding aside, I have no idea what else could be expected? It's bizarre.
P.S. If I ever get divorced, their fault too.

Poison nuts's picture

As we speak, somewhere in central Florida, Mike Bianchi is furiously punching the keys of his typewriter. The room he sits in is lit only by whatever daylight his dusty blinds will let in...His eyes are bloodshot with fake rage & he is frothing at the mouth. As he ponders how he can continue to tie Urban Meyer not only to the Hernandez case but also to the sinking of the Titanic, 9-11, and serial killer Danny Rolling (both were at UF, coincidence?) he is shoveling into his mouth whatever it is that sustains trolls off of a re-used paper plate. It is at once sad & also quite beautiful...I look forward to guiltily reading the story & giving him the page views he so desperately craves.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

GABuckeye's picture

And somehow is going to be tied to the Kennedy assassination as well.

dubjayfootball90's picture

Don't forget global warming, the potato famine, and the 10,000 dead pigs that recently surfaced in a major Chinese River...
What the hell, lets blame the Cadmium tainted rice in China on Meyer as well.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Poison nuts's picture

Everything that is wrong with the world - Urban Frank Meyer...obviously.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

acBuckeye's picture

Don't forget Jim Tressel, the epitome of evil. He's responsible for all of these things, too. And I heard he likes to kick puppies. 

Poison nuts's picture

I don't actually look forward to reading anything that Bianchi writes again btw...unfortunately, I probably will & that really sucks.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

9Route's picture

What a joke the mainstream media has become.

I'm just happy to be here

bukyze's picture

Bianchi, May, Hayes, Travis, etc... should all have this sign hanging above their front door:

tennbuckeye19's picture

Here's the thing, no matter what Urban would say, it would never satisfy those that already have their minds made up about him. If he remained silent on Hernandez, they would rip him (and already have). If he gives a statement (which he now has) they will most likely say it was not enough and he should've said more. My guess is that even if he issued a mea culpa and said "yep, you guys are right, it's all entirely my fault that Aaron is a violent man who kills people", even that wouldn't be enough for them. It's a lose, lose no matter how you slice it. 

t-dub's picture

my up-vote is for this

"What is our aim, I can tell you in one word. Victory" Winston Churchill

jkrk's picture

Oh, Meyer tried to mentor him, huh? Oh, he was held to the same standard as everybody else, huh? This injustice cannot stand!!! Where's my FOIA request file??? THERE MUST BE BLOOD!!!!!
Another undefeated season out of Columbus and the entire media population of the Southeast will be permanently submitting their articles as rage faces.

Hovenaut's picture

Skin gets thicker.

I was once a journalism student, decided against pursuing due to the over focus on the negativity when reporting. I understand everyone is drawn to a train wreck, but crossing lines in the face of tragedy isn't something I can ever comprehend.

A family lost a son and brother, while Hernandez has a fiance and infant daughter left in the wake of his alleged actions.

I wasn't fond of what I'd read regarding the Gator program under Meyer, but I stop short of tossing full, unequivocal accountability at UFM's feet when his players ran into trouble. At the end of the day, these are grown men, adults, who need to own up to their actions.

Not to downplay the fact that a young man lost his life over two weeks ago, and I don't expect the media full court press to slow down after Meyer's statements. But I think his addressing the matter now, before the start of the season, was a necessity. Although this surely won't be the end of it, this we know.

Buckeye-in-DC's picture

no no, Meyer being held responsible is just like when the allegations surfaced against Ray Lewis - remember?  Everyone was blaming Dennis Erickson and Butch Davis and questioning their role and the u's role and holding all of them responsible.  oh wait...

Hovenaut's picture

Or John McKay...God rest his soul.

I don't recall any media backlash towards him regarding one O.J. Simpson back in '94.

Barry Switzer and the Sooners in the 80's?

Ditto....Ron Meyer and SMU.

Yes there are shades of gray here, but there's a degree of overzealousness among the media. The higher the profile, the bigger the story.

Story is business, business is money.

Aside from the disgust I have towards the piling on of UFM, there doesn't seem to be much sensitivity towards the family of Odin Lloyd.

biggy84's picture

Mainstream sports media has become nothing more than a snark-fest by a group of entitled, holier than thou, wannabe elitists. 

BROSEPH's picture

Sigh, I don't like the fact that it was even necessary for him to make a statement.  Media will do anything to find someone or something concrete to blame for every story like this.  


Only a troll would make this an issue. No journalist worth anything would dare accuse a coach of abetting the cold blooded murder of someone let alone suggest that coach made one of his players an even more worse killer by not disciplining them hard enough. how I wish we could all band together to put those idiots out of business

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

My journalism prof at tOSU many moons ago would have gone on a 20 minute rant against the sorry state of what passes for reporting now. Of course a reporter - ANY reporter - has certain biases he/she brings to the table; the HONEST ones (if there are any left) try to play those biases down as much as possible.
I'm not sure I would call Kirk Herbstreit a "reporter" per se, but he consciously tries to be neutral in his commentary/analysis of college football, especially when it involves his alma mater (of course, he's also been blasted for it by some Buckeye fans, which is really sad).
UFM has done all he can to address the trolls/mediots... Is it enough? Probably not.

hodge's picture

The fact that Urban had to defend himself is disgusting. 

AcrossTheField11's picture

Nerds operating under the fake guise of "Sports Journalists" like Mike Bianchi and Clay Travis need to have their Journalism card torn up for posting trash in exchange for page hits.  
Come up with a different term for them.  It's almost like calling a rented security guard a "Law Enforcement Officer".  Disgusting. 

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

BuckeyeChief's picture

A couple of points;
1.) This is shoddy journalism; Urban Meyer has gone from favorite son of the SEC to Public Enemy number 1.
2.) I learned a few hard lessons in life many moons ago; no matter how hard you micro manage people and their personal lives, you cannot control everything they do. You are going to drive yourself crazy, everyone is going to hate you and you are still going to lose; control what you can control, and educate/ mentor/ train the best you can.
3.) Haters are going to hate; no one in life at any level is going to be universally loved. Some one is going to find fault or flaws with everything you do. I came to this realization about 7 years ago...I have found that shipmates in both my rate and command either love me or detest me...I suspect there a quite a few people that have either been really happy I just advanced or really, really pissed...I know of at least 1 facebook post rejoicing the fact I was passed over last year...It used to really, really eat me up and one day it just came to me. It doesn't make me work any less, but perhaps a bit harder.
It will be really, really interesting to see how Urban Meyer handles this. I will be the first to admit, if he was still at UF and prior to him coming here, I would've been the first to jump on this. I think he may have learned from some of the things that happened there, and grew from it, but I hope it doesn't eat him up.

"2014 National with it!!!"

Urban Nation Army's picture

The hacks that are out there calling themselves "journalists" who use their platform to let their personal drivel of opinions fall on what ears it may are a disgrace to society. Many of the people who are like this pride themselves on taking down or crucifying (from behind a keyboard) prominent public figures they despise. People who follow Ohio State in the news have seen this for a while now with Gee and Meyer. Destroying someone's livelihood now happens to be an accomplishment for some of these "journalists." Ohio State does happen to be an easy target due to the large alumni/fan base and national prominence, but that in no way excuses the lack of integrity many of these writers have now or their obvious bias. In short, the way in which Bianchi, Travis, May, etc. and those like them operate is nothing less than pathetic.

Bet you can't say "Bert Bielma is a bumbling buffoon" five times fast.

FROMTHE18's picture

ESPN put this story on their front page and one of the top stories on the menu...pathetic, absolutely pathetic.

GoBucksOSU's picture

Your first mistake was actually going to ESPN to look at the top stories.

RBuck's picture

Yay Urban!

Long live the southend.

sharks's picture

Psst.  Hey you.  Want to know the answer to why this happened and will continue to happen?
It is because we, the fans, are too sane and rational.
Think about it.  Urban is probably the second best coach in the game right now- so why aren't the SB Nation bloggers (or whoever these guys are) going after Saban?
You go after Saban, the Tide fans start assembling, with pitchforks.  Ohio State fans are easier targets because we don't do that.

A man got to have a code...

osu07asu10's picture

I'm surprised Urban didn't tape himself walking into the bathroom, grabbing a 22 oz glass mug with the word "Excellence" labeled on it, pissed the thing full and threw it at the camera...

Good for him for the response, which was complete unwarranted and unncessary. 

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

southbymidwest's picture

1) When you are 23, you are responsible for your actions. Period.
2) Simply because you tried to help someone who seems to be headed down the wrong path does not mean that you are an enabler. I'll bet those who are calling him an enabler would have called him a cold hearted SOB for kicking Hernandez, a kid who probably was "at-risk" off the team. And they would have howled that he kicked the best TE that arguably they had ever had.
3) Urban was brought to Florida to WIN GAMES, BABY and resurrect the UF program from the doldrums that it had fallen into. Tell me that the university, board of regents, fans or boosters gave much of a crap about the athletes, other than to laud them when they won. (OK, it's not just at Florida.) He probably had to deal with a different kind of athlete than he had at BG or Utah. Yes, he might have had to deal with them at Notre Dame, but he was not HC, and ND isn't an SEC school. Have to believe that he didn't have those white hot pressures at BG or Utah. Slippery slopes are just that-slippery-just a little give on this, or glossing over on that leads you further down that path more quickly than you could imagine. Had he failed within 2-3 years, he might have ended up toiling at a mid-majors school rather than at OSU (at least as HC).
4) Perhaps his year off gave him the opportunity to really look at what things were important to him as a coach, what he loved, what he hated and dragged him down, what he might do differently the next time-thus the dismissals of some talented kids from the team for arrests and infractions, penalties for Peegate, recruiting kids who seem to have their heads on straight and bowing out on others who perhaps did not. He also was damn lucky that he inherited the team that he did-and that he had guys like Simon, Boren, and the more anonymous leaders in the locker room that perhaps we don't hear as much about, but were nonetheless critical to the kind of year that OSU had last year.

Seattle Linga's picture

Can someone enlighten me as to why a NFL head coach that has a history of cheating, choosing this kid in the draft has not been ripped to shreds from all the backlash that has happened. Billy B should have been given a much stronger dose then UFM period.