More from Meyer on Aaron Hernandez

By Chris Lauderback on July 7, 2013 at 10:44a

After releasing portions of text messages exchanged with Urban Meyer yesterday, Tim May added a few more segments of Q&A in today's Columbus Dispatch. It's pretty benign stuff for the most part. A sampling:

Question: Have the recent personal attacks on you in relation to this case bothered you?

Answer: Whenever someone attacks your character, our staff — people aren’t aware of all the things we do in terms of being a mentor, dealing with issues and all that. Yeah, I have been avoiding talking about this because you’re talking about a serious crime; you’re talking about families that have been very affected by this. And to pull something back personal that isn’t true from four to seven years ago, that’s mind-boggling to me.

Q: Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun wrote a week ago that you and your wife, Shelley, welcomed Hernandez into your home at times back then, offering him family-style exposure among other ways of trying to show him the right path. Do you think now about what else you could have done?

A: Absolutely. When one of our (Florida assistant) coaches started recruiting him up in (Bristol) Connecticut, it was right after his father had died suddenly. There was a lot of emotional trauma with that. Years ago, that would weigh forever on my chest — “What could we do? What could we do?” Then I’d talk with other coaches, and in essence the conversation was you do the best you can. But at the end of the day, there is free will. You can’t change people. You can set the table and try to help them, make sure there is a spiritual component in their life, make sure there is a family atmosphere. And that’s what we try to do — it’s what we’ve tried to do everywhere.

Q: You mentioned that your concern for Hernandez rose most when he occasionally would visit his hometown.
A: His people back home said, “Keep him (in Florida), don’t let him come back home” (because of what they saw as unsettling influences). That was a big part of it, now that I remember it. And I didn’t understand the seriousness of it. People warned me and the coaches warned me, saying, “He can’t go back home.” Again, though, I had no idea we’d be talking about what we are now.

Q: Many look upon college head coaches, despite a three- to five-year exposure with an athlete, as being quasi-parents responsible in part for how an athlete turns out.
A: Absolutely that is part of our responsibility. Now can it completely wear you out in worrying about what’s going on 24/7? Yes. But it is our responsibility. We represent the university. We’re like the CEO of a company, but the difference is we’re in the public eye. And then the stories that get told and printed, with the inaccuracies, that’s what just wears you out.
Our program, in my opinion, does as good of a job as anybody in America in involving families, making it a family atmosphere, getting to know our players and trying to develop our players in all areas of their life — social, spiritual, athletic, everything. Our coaches coach, but that’s a small part of it. ... It’s why we work so hard on life after football with these kids.

Clearly, though he has barely spoken of Hernandez until now, the sad situation has been weighing heavily on his mind. Even worse, it has spilled over into the rest of his family with both his wife and daughter taking to twitter to defend him. 


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ATXbucknut's picture

This is sad. Meyer and his family should not have to defend Urban Meyer just because a couple of journalistic hacks write snuff stories about his culpability in the Hernandez affair just to get page views.  Clay Travis probably hasn't stopped to think about how his snuff pieces affect actual human beings and their families.

buckeyedude's picture

I'm starting to think this is all an effort just to make UFM want to get out of the spotlight.



AndyVance's picture

My gut reaction to this is twofold: one the one hand it reinforces in my mind that Urban Meyer is a class act, and that I'm extremely happy and proud that he is coaching our team. Secondly, however, it infuriates me that some classless schmucks are drawing linkages where none exist, and trying to assign blame where none should rest at all.
Just out of curiosity, when the Ray Lewis debacle was in the news, was their a similar rush to blame Dennis Erickson and Butch Davis?

Hovenaut's picture

Right on AV.....or John McKay and O.J. Simpson, Barry Switzer and his Sooner teams in the mid-80's, Rob Meyer and SMU, etc.

Again, different shades of grey there, but why call out one coach on one of his former players. Especially with the level of vitriol being hurled at UFM.

Not forsaking the family of Odin Lloyd, or the fiance and baby girl Hernandez has left in his wake, but the fact that Urban's family has felt the need to respond to the criticism is an outrage.

The day is going to come, when these same pundits will have the chance to sing Urban Meyer's it for on field or off field success.

Maybe we'll see who the fair, impartial journalists are then (sarcastic font).

tdible2132's picture

Urban Meyer has raised a class act family, and is most certainly a great man. With me being from Bowling Green and knowing Urban and his family personally from his days coaching at BGSU, it really grinds my gears hearing people bash Urban and his character. They call him a snake and a liar and that couldn't be farther from the truth. The fact of the matter is that when you have the success that Urban has had, people will always look to bring you down.  I also firmly believe that every college football team has problems. I mean it's college kids we are talking about, and people acting like they never made mistakes when they were in college is just astounding to me. Urban has been recruiting absolute class acts here at OSU though, and just about every recruit from 2013 and 2014 has been so impressive IMO. It just goes to show that Urban does indeed care about a kids character, and it's not just about talent with him. I get the feeling that there will be some very disappointed haters out there over the next few years, because I really believe  our student athletes on the football team will be setting a precedent for staying out of trouble and being great kids.  That will really show these people that Urban Meyer wasn't the problem at Florida IMO. 
-End of rant

PaulRobertson's picture

Not to be argumentative, but do we really know Urban is "most certainly a great man"?  Do we know his family personally?  Do we know that any coaches are great men?  Probably not.  What we do know is that he's a really good football coach bringing a lot of athletic talent to OSU.  Anything beyond that is pretty much guesswork. 

WC Buckeye's picture

We can only know this after the balance of a career has been documented and analyzed, same as in just about any profession. We measure a coach's on- and off-the-field contributions in the evaluation - which is a little different than for Joe six-pack or even the local physician probably - but a lot of what we ascribe to a coach's legacy is based upon hearsay: witness coach Hayes' undocumented hospital visits (and many other charitable actions from lots of retold firsthand accounts), and/or coach Tressel's many similar selfless acts. But is that all there is?
The question isn't really "Is coach Meyer is a great man?" (he's headed in that direction, by many accounts, if lore really is a criterion), but IMO, rather "How do we measure greatness?" Every single mouth-breathing twit with a few low-functioning brain cells can weigh in with an opinion nowadays, and most will say that unless their vote is counted, the measure is suspect. The ability of pundits to throw concepts into the ether that have arguable bases in fact - I'M LOOKING AT YOU, BIANCHI - is very worrisome. Opinion is far too often taken as fact these days, and most facts aren't checked like they should be.
There is no personal accountability anymore. Everyone is a victim of some kind and therefore can't be held accountable for failing. Let's fix that first, maybe, before we decide who is great and who isn't.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

toad1204's picture

As there is not anyone currently policing journalistic integrity I'd like to nominate Johnny Simon, Zack Boren and Big Hank in the short term until a longer term fix can be found.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

cajunbuckeye's picture

Having coached both Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky, I feel it's time to take a closer look at Rip Engle. I think we can easily conclude that Rip should have seen disaster on the horizon and is solely responsible for what took place at State Penn. I'm starting a petition listing Rip Engle as a co-conspirator in the sexual abuse of children and I am asking for his removal from the College Football Hall of Fame. Please, stop the insanity.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

LouGroza's picture

The purpose for the thrashing Urban is taking is visible in his response above. "And then the stories that get told and printed, with the inaccuracies, that’s what just wears you out." 
The haters have their chance to take a swing at the Urban pinata dangling squarely in front of them. A free, mighty swing that can cause the amount of anguish and dismay they could only dream of. With the responses he has given to Tim May as the only defense he has. However succinct Urbans responses may be, the damage they desire gets done. 
These chicken shit writers that sell their collective souls to get their five minutes are loving it. What I wouldn't give to get five minutes with each of them. Trash.

Alice in Aggieland's picture

Looks like the mainstream media have decided to join the fray. Oy.

AndyVance's picture

Wow that story makes my teeth rattle. I've been among those here who tend to play down the conspiracy theory that the media are involved in a concerted effort to trash Ohio State at every turn, but stories like this just feel too much like the hit job that torpedoed The Best University President In the Land just a few short months ago. It's like deja-frickin'-vu all over again, and I don't like it one doggone bit.

Poison nuts's picture

I was just thinking the same thing. I've been on the "there is no media bias or conspiracy against OSU" team for some time however, stories like that, in the NY Times...I was just sitting her thinking maybe there is something to it. One thing I read in the article that I thought was worth noting:

Tobias said Meyer visited the police department once to tell the officers not to give his players preferential treatment, which, Tobias added, was already the directive from police officials.

Anyway, I am sure Urban Meyer is not a perfect man, but this is getting a little bit ridiculous now. Aaron Hernandez has likely killed a man & Urban Meyer is being, well not blamed, but certainly implicated as being responsible in some way...disgusting indeed.

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

northcampus's picture

The Times is the biggest tabloid of them all.  I'm surprised it took them this long to 'weigh in' with their perception of reality.

Buckeyeneer's picture

Someone made a great point in the comments section of that article, to paraphrase: You can't have it both ways. Common Urban hater talking points "Look at all those kids arrested during his time in Florida" and "His players got special treatment and could do whatever they wanted" are completely opposite. Obviously with all the arrests, his players were not getting all the special treatment  and favors people are suggesting.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

buckeyestu's picture

Well if i break the rules or laws, it sure is not my fathers' fault. People need to be held accountable for their own actions, why  blame others? Urban is not to blame for hernandez and others who run afoul of the law.

skid21's picture

Can anyone give me another example of when a college coach was held accountable for a player years later?

northcampus's picture

Cam Newton's 'negotiation' with Auburn and Miss St. was Urban's fault.  Tebow's failures in the NFL are Urban's fault.
Meyer and the media aren't exactly bosom buddies.  Combine that with the fact that both Ohio State and Meyer are public enemy number one of the SEC (the most irrational, emotionally unstable region (in terms of college athletics) in America) and this makes for a perfect storm in terms of creating a story.


Coach Meyer and his family will shrug this off. What I pray does not happen is that it leads to him resigning, as said before, to get out of the spotlight as to not be a distraction to the University. That's the impetus behind all this from the media's standpoint. They no longer care about right or wrong. They care about kicking the bees nest because they know they can get results (i.e. mouse clicks).
I swear if any of these jackasses start harassing Coach Meyer with these idiotic questions during the season, either before or after a big OSU victory, I hope whatever real journalists and OSU supporters are also in that press conference take that person to task and even kick them out of the room.

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

ohhiyo's picture

Was Bobby Collins questioned about the 5 hookers Craig James killed?

Toilrt Paper's picture

Where's Gene Smith's backing for his football coach? The sooner the better Ohio State hires a new President, so he/she can support Urban Meyer.

pjtobin's picture

This is so unbelievable. I don't understand why ppl are blaming Urban. Parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents? Someone tried to raise him right. Every coach he had only wanted to see him succeed. Only he is to blame. I got arrested a few months after my dad died. It was my first time ever. I was 27 yrs old. I punched a worthless punk. I did it. I mentally and physically choose to throw that punch. I wanted to. I may have not been in the best state of mind. That is still on me. I feel bad for all parties involved with this case. If Hernandez did it, he will be behind bars. I just hope this doesn't put Urbans mind behind bars. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

buckeye1129's picture

I'm sure Urban feels bad, but I wasn't mentally paralyzed when a kid I knew drove through a stop sign and got hit by a truck, killing the three passengers in his car instantly.  It hurts in a way that you didn't know existed until that point, but I still did fine in school and at work.
I guess it's just a feeling of empathy in an unfathomable situation, making it a very alien feeling.  Urban is a grown man with a football team to coach, and I'm sure he will do just fine.

CowCat's picture

I think it's important that Buckeye Nation stands up and lets their coach know he's doing a great job. To heck with the haters.

Thanks Coach Meyer. Thanks for everything you do. Don't let these ***%&^%%* posers take you down.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

buckeye1129's picture

Hold on a second.  Are you kidding me with going back to Hernandez's college coach?  What about the Patriots staff?  They were in direct contact with him, and if you want to blame a coach or coaches for this kid murdering somebody, point the finger at the people who should have known he had a problem. 
Look, if you invest like 50 million dollars in an athlete, you should damn well know if he may or may not be involved in cocaine trafficking and/or distribution, as well as violent frickin crime.  They should have known he was capable of pulling a trigger while looking a man in they eye.  Where are the stories bashing Bellicheck?  Oh that's right; he isn't accountable for any of this because he has no ties to Ohio State.  What a load of bullshit.

FindlayBuck's picture

Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick, two of the most well respected men in all of football, thought highly enough of Aaron Hernandez to give him a very large raise. That should be more than enough to make everyone realize it's not always easy to identify someone like that. Did Belichick know he would go off somebody? No, otherwise they wouldn't have drafted, started him, or given him a nice new contract. This whole thing is beyond dumb. 8/31 can't be here soon enough!

buckeye1129's picture

I would say I have to agree considering I said nearly this same thing in different words the post directly above yours.  :-)

gobucks96's picture

Ok, how much time was given to the fact of the patriots and Gronk's partying styles last year and in the off season? Yet not one word on the professional organization that hired this TE, but the college coach is fair game?
This stinks and it proves to me that the attack mode is still on OSU. 

FindlayBuck's picture

Oops, I should have read through before posting. It's so frustrating how nobody wants to hold Hernandez accountable for his actions, he's a grown man who knows right from wrong, no matter where he grew up.

buckeye1129's picture

You are so right and for some reason this is the least suggested theory.  It's the kid's fault for getting himself caught up in shady shit again after he made his millions.  Money can't buy IQ points I guess.  I mean, if you have that much money and you absolutely HAVE to murder somebody (cant imagine a situation where this would be relevant), at least pay somebody else to pull the trigger.  Possibly a professional who won't leave that dumbass trail of evidence that led the cops to Hernandez.  He kept the hat and hoody?  Who the fuck does he think he is?

buckeye1129's picture

If Urban is gonna catch heat for this, why not the Tight Ends coach?  Did he sleep with any co-eds? Had all of his professors earned tenure?  Was the man at the local gas station nice or mean the majority of the time?  Does his family have a history of murder, or alzheimers or kidney disease?  Why didn't Urban jump in front of the bullet?
These questions need answering. One thing is certain and that is the fact that Hernandez is retarded and even the most expensive legal counsel will not get his homicidal ass out of this mess.

gobucks96's picture

buckeye1129, The problem began once Aaron started getting back in touch with his friends from his hometown that was 2 hours away from New England.....

buckeye1129's picture

Yeah, I didn't phrase my thoughts correctly.  What I basically meant was that Urban is about as much to blame as anybody else that was at UF at the time, because this is multiple years down the line.  Hernandez is not Tebow, it doesn't seem like he would be the type to keep in touch with old coaches or whatever.  He seems too selfish to really care about anybody but himself.

Oyster's picture

That seems to be a recurring theme with your posts...
And why was the co-eds comment added in?  What purpose did that serve?

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

buckeye1129's picture

I'm glad you're catching on Oyster. The co-ed comment has a few layers to it.  First one is the top.  Then the pants.  Then you push the straps together, DONT PULL THEM APART U LOOK LIKE A NEWB THAT WAY, then you're just a hip raise and leg straighten away from peeling away the final layer of the puzzle.
Are you serious dude? Tongue-in-cheek.  It's a very common writing style within the comments.
Look, I don't mean to offend anybody.  But if I do, please remember this is the internet.  If you want politically correct eye candy, go check out Good Morning America re runs or maybe some Growing Pains or Full House.
Also, didn't you go to college? If you did, then you know that the ladies (or the gentlemen depending on your gender/orientation) are probably just about as memorable as any professor/mentor figure.  At least in those first four undergraduate years.  I'm sure that as I begin my 3-4 postgraduate years of study I won't have the time to be partying and reminiscing about co-eds.  Not to mention the ole' girlfriend lol.

Oyster's picture

At least you didn't call me an asshole like you did in the pet peeves before you quickly saw the error in your ways and cleaned it up.  Next time I'll respond so you can't edit it away.  As for your tongue in cheek, your continued 'sneaky' little jabs at OSU are not that sneaky.  If it is that you are simply just trying to fit in, you are trying too hard.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

buckeye1129's picture

What jabs at Ohio State?  Name one. One! I love the Buckeyes through and through.  I have said on here I went to my first game when my mom was pregnant with me and have been to around 30 since then. 2006-2007 was the most tumultuous year as a fan that I have ever had.  Unless I was an F U fan, why would I say those years?

buckeye1129's picture

If I didn't like Ohio State, would I know that Jeff Heurmann caught the 2-point conversion against Purdue this year?  Or that Ettiene Sabino came from the right and Ryan Shazier came right at Montee Ball at the goal line to force a fumble, which was a huge play this year?  What about knowing who Matt Sylvester is.  If I wasn't an Ohio State fan, how the hell would I know the name Matt Sylvester???

buckeye1129's picture

As a fellow OSU fan, I have to ask,
How firm thy friendship? 
Just have fun with it Oyster we are all here to talk Buckeye football because we are jumping out of our skin waiting for the season to start.