Courtney Smith's mother, Tina Carano, told Brett McMurphy in an interview on Saturday that former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith "grabbed (Courtney) around the neck to get away from her," but said that she did not believe Zach ever threw a punch at her daughter, his ex-wife.
“He hit her because of self defense,” Carano told McMurphy on Saturday. “It’s not like he punched (her) or threw a punch at her. He was putting his hands against her throat and pushing her against a wall to get away. That’s all I’m going to say.”
McMurphy also asked Carano about text messages he obtained that appeared to show Carano expressing displeasure with Zach for being unfaithful and abusive toward Courtney, which McMurphy said she confirmed she sent to Zach in 2014.
“I can tell you this – when all this happened – I’m trying to be there as a mother,” Carano told McMurphy. “I’m going to support her.”
An account that appears to be Carano's, however, later responded to the story saying that she did not remember sending those text messages:
The text messages in McMurphy's story:
Carano did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Eleven Warriors on Saturday.
McMurphy's report Saturday came two days after a report by sportswriter Jeff Snook in which Carano told Snook via text message that she did not believe Zach "intentionally abused" Courtney.
From Snook's report:
Reached this afternoon, Tina Carano would only communicate via text messages and backed Lynn Bruce’s version.
When asked if she believed her daughter’s claims of physical abuse, she replied, “I believe that Zach was removing himself from an argument and I do not believe he intentionally abused her. I do not believe he actually intentionally swung or punched her … no.”
As far as ever hearing her daughter say she would “take Zach down,” she replied, “Yes.”
And when Meyer’s name was mentioned, she added, “I cannot quote her exact words as I don’t remember them word for word, but something to that extent. This is my daughter and I love her but I do not approve of what she has done and how it was done.”
Following that text, she did not respond to follow-up questions.
Courtney told McMurphy that "she has been estranged from her mother for about two months."
“I still love my mom, but I’m really hurt she has chosen not to support me during this difficult time,” Courtney told McMurphy.
Zach Smith was fired by Ohio State on July 23, hours after it was reported that Courtney had filed a domestic violence protection order against him and that she had made multiple allegations of domestic violence against him.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has been on paid administrative leave since August 1 while the university investigates what he knew about the allegations against Smith and whether he handled them correctly.