National Pundits Weigh In On Ohio State's Suspension Of Urban Meyer

By Derrick Webb on August 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Ohio State announced a three-game suspension for Urban Meyer Tuesday evening.

While many Ohio State fans flooded social media to express frustration with the university's decision to suspend Urban Meyer Wednesday evening, national media pundits were much more critical of the Buckeyes' head coach.

Meyer received a three-game suspension to start the 2018 season after mishandling domestic violence allegations against his former wide receivers coach Zach Smith.

The university's Board of Trustees, which reviewed the details of a two-week long investigation into Meyer, did not find he was deliberately lying at Big Ten Media Day on July 24. The board also stated Meyer "impressed us with his sincere commitment to the 'respect for women core values."

However, their findings also showed that Meyer was aware of an investigation into domestic violence by Zach Smith in 2015 and that there had been "a number of instances of misconduct and other problematic conduct" by Smith while under Meyer.

In effect, countless national media experts used their platforms to voice their own opinions on the situation.

Yahoo! Sports took to Twitter and created a graphic that compared Meyer's suspension to other notable suspensions at the university in recent years.

During a question and answer session after Meyer made his first statement to media since Aug. 3, Meyer was asked what his message was to Zach Smith's wife, Courtney.

Meyer replied, "Well, I have a message for everyone involved in this. I'm sorry that we are in this situation. And I'm just sorry we are in this situation."

Big Ten Network college football analyst Gerry DiNardo made remarks on the situation on air Wednesday evening. Thursday morning, The Athletic's Chris Vannini transcribed DiNardo's comments.

After watching the press conference, SEC ESPN Network's Paul Finebaum, who's been historically critical of Meyer, said "I believe his biggest failing was not personally apologizing to the victim in all of this, Courtney Smith. Instead he acted like he was the victim and that is extremely troubling."

Thursday morning, on ESPN's "Get Up," Finebaum made additional comments, saying, "(Meyer) sold his soul. He sold his integrity. And Ohio State still has one of the great football coaches in modern history. But at what price?"

Big Ten Reporter Dan Murphy also appeared on "Get Up" and summed up Wednesday's events saying, "I think it's worth noting that while those two domestic violence incidents, in 2009 and 2015, got the most, rightfully the most attention, there was a long crescendo of reasons why you could have fired someone that Urban Meyer overlooked when it comes to Zach Smith."

Directly after Murphy made his comments, show host Mike Greenberg asked co-host Michelle Beadle of her reaction. Beadle replied, "2018 will go down, for me, as the year where we've just decided we're not going to use the word 'lie' anymore. We're going to call it all kinds of other things. (Meyer) lied. He didn't misrepresent the facts. He wasn't less than accurate. (Meyer) lied. We can just call it lying."

USA Today columnist Christine Brennan tweeted at 6:34 a.m. Thursday saying, "The more you read and hear about what Urban Meyer did and didn't do, the more unbelievable it is that Ohio State let him keep his job. What a disgrace."

Brennan also sent out a tweet directly after Wednesday's press conference and said, "Urban Meyer should have been fired. Instead, he survives as a diminished version of his once mighty self. By failing to do everything in power to stop the abusive Zach Smith, then lying about it, Meyer is a weakened, lesser man."

At 2:37 a.m. Thursday, The Athletic's Stewart Mandel questioned the university saying in its investigation that Meyer, "sometimes had significant memory issues."

Mandel also sent out a tweet at 1:04 a.m with a story link, saying, "On Urban Meyer, who kept his job but lost our respect."

ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell also made comments about Meyer's handling of the question concerning Courtney Smith. Rovell tweeted a video from Dan Wolken at USA Today Sports at 8:02 a.m., Thursday, adding "Urban Meyer somehow wasn't ready to answer the question he was guaranteed to get.

Just an hour before Rovell tweeted, Wolken sent a separate tweet at 7:02 a.m., saying "Investigators concluded OSU staff members knew Zach Smith was having sex with a secretary and nobody reported it to Urban. That’s either a lie (bad) or Urban’s staffers are idiots."

Later Thursday morning, at 9:43 a.m, The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach sent out a link and with it questioned, "Has Urban Meyer learned anything about domestic violence? Considering the callousness of his words on Wednesday ... the answer is no."

As demonstrated, Meyer's words and demeanor during Wednesday's press conference have been criticized widely for, in the eyes of the national media, being unaccepting of his role in Zach Smith's actions and the larger issues relating to abuse. His statements when prompted about his message to Courtney Smith are one of the main reasons why. There's a feeling that if Meyer would've been more detailed in his response, addressed Courtney Smith directly, or apologized for his mishandling of the situation, the backlash wouldn't be as significant.

Instead, Meyer left Wednesday's question and answer session raising more questions than providing answers for a national media already skeptical about his and Ohio State's handling of this situation.

View 409 Comments