Urban Meyer; This is so Much More than Football By: Peter Snyder

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On July 23rd 2018, former Ohio State assistant coach, Zach Smith was fired after multiple domestic violence reports were made public knowledge, accusing Smith of being physical with his now former wife Courtney Smith, multiple times. Fast forward a week or so, and reports break that Ohio State Head Coach and college football royalty, Urban Meyer, had allegedly known about the domestic incidents that took place in 2015 and didn’t do a thing about it. Meyer has since been put on administrative leave and is waiting on the University to perform a thorough investigation. Meyer has also made a comment to the media since the reports came out saying that he followed the appropriate protocol after receiving the knowledge that he did. Meyer also took responsibility on his failure to comply when asked about his knowledge of allegations at Big Ten Media Day on July 24. Smith has denied all the allegations that are being made against him.

What we now have on our hands is a classic he said she said, magnified to the highest extent. This he said she said is being played out in two parts. The first part is between Courtney Smith, the alleged victim and Zach Smith, the alleged abuser. Now, Courtney Smith would not just pull this out of her wazoo. Domestic violence is one of the most serious problems we face in America today and is an issue that in a way, paralyzes women’s mental state for a long, long time. I can not even begin to fathom, if this is true, what this women had to endure with this man. Courtney and Zach met at Kentucky University as undergrads, fell in love, and eventually got married in June of 2008. In an interview with Stadium Exclusive , Courtney stated the domestic abuse began in 2009. She stated that the first physical incident between her and Zach took place in Gainesville, Florida, while Zach was serving as a graduate assistant for Urban Meyer at the University of Florida. Courtney said that while she was pregnant, Zach picked her up by the shirt and threw her up against the wall after the two had gotten into an argument after Zach came home late and wanted a co-worker (I’m assuming female,) to sleep on the couch. She called the police, but proceeded not to press charges and stayed with her husband. The second incident that police have on record, was a call that was made to the Smith’s home, which at in Columbus Ohio in 2015. According to Courtney, they were separated at the time and she thought that leaving him would be her “way out” of the abusive behavior. That was not the case. On that night in 2015, the two had gotten in an argument over who got to take home their son for that night, as the two were separated and were not living with each other at the time. Courtney said that it was her night with her son, so she stood up for herself, only to be thrown up against a wall with Zach’s hands being wrapped around her neck, something that had apparently been done quite frequently. Courtney said that this was the last time that Zach had gotten physical with her, but the verbal abuse had carried on for years to come. One shocking piece that was taken from this interview, was when Courtney mentioned Urban Meyer and his knowledge of this whole case. Courtney said that in 2015 during a phone call, told Meyer’s wife, Shelley about the physical abuse that was put on her during the last few years. Although sympathetic and supportive, Courtney is not 100 percent sure if this information was passed on to Urban, even though she was told that it was going to be.

Now of course there is always two sides to every story and Zach got his chance to talk, on a recent interview he did with ESPN. As the interview began, Zach immediately took us back to 2015 and denied the allegations of him being a domestic abuser. He explained that in a conversation he had with his boss, Urban Meyer in October of 2015, him and Meyer spoke about domestic violence allegations that were being put on him, concerning physical abuse of his former wife, Courtney Smith. He than told Meyer that he was not going to be charged because he never hit her. This was followed by a retractment by Meyer saying that if he did, he would essentially be in a boat load of shit and immediately be fired. Smith was than asked if at the time, Meyer should have looked more into the situation at hand. Smith answered with an abrupt no, as Meyer is not an “investigator.” He is rather, a head football coach. Smith would go on to repeatedly say that Meyer did not need to do more than he already did, because that is not part of his job. You can see the interviewer seemingly become more and more annoyed along with the viewer getting incredibly irritated, as Smith is blocking every question from left and right and giving a weak, generic answer. One of the more powerful quotes that was taken from this interview was when Smith stated that if Meyer was to lose his job over this scenario, it would be a “crime.” Smith did admit that his and Courtney’s marriage was toxic, but never got physical on his part. Smith at one point in the interview, actually accused her of being physical towards him and said that he would have to be defensive multiple times. Another notable quote that can be taken out of this interview and will be used in future cases against Smith include ” I never hit my wife, I’ve never beat her, nothing.” The interview seemed in a way toxic and seemed as if Smith was in a very angry state and if all this allegations come out to be false, he will certainly have the right to be. That being said, if these allegations are true and this guy is continuing to tell lies and hiding the dark past that he once endured, he deserves to be thrown in jail and stay there for a lengthy period of time.

The second he said she said scenario is going to come from the word of coach Urban Meyer and the word of the Ohio State University. This past Friday, Urban Meyer made a statement to the public for the first time since the allegations had come out that Meyer had been told about the domestic violence acquisitions in 2015, and had been said to have virtually  done nothing about it. This was also Meyer’s first statement made since he was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday, August 2, 2018. In the statement, Meyer had two key points. His first point was an apology and almost a admit to fault regarding the incidents at Big Ten Media Day on July 24th. Meyer was asked a question about the domestic allegations that were put on Zach Smith and was asked if he had any knowledge of the situation at hand. He said no, and basically told the media that this story could basically have been made up. That was a straight lie. Meyer than admitted to having knowledge of the allegations in 2015, but then following the proper protocol and giving the information to a hierarchy at the University. If this is true, I do not believe that Meyer is totally off the hook, but I do think it will keep him his job at Ohio State. If this is in fact a lie, and he ignored this information, just to keep his coach and protect his Universities image, he should never be able to coach at Ohio State again, should never be able to coach football again period and should never be looked in the eye as a respectable man as long as he may live.

What Meyer did in his statement, was essentially throw his employer underneath the bus. Although it in hindsight, may save his job, what Meyer did was tell the public that he should not be responsible for the actions at hand, rather the higher ranks at Ohio State, as they were told by Meyer what was going on in 2015. Now, this can become a major issue if the situation is not figured out soon. Many people will start to takes sides and the people who will take Meyer’s side which many will, will start to turn on the University and share their displeasure towards them. This could also lead to big time punishments, if these claims by Meyer turn out to be true. We are looking at loss of jobs, national titles taken away and maybe even a suspension of a football program as a whole. Covering up an issue of this magnitude is no laughing matter and the person who is responsible for hiding this story for upwards of three years, needs to be accountable and pay the price. Now the University has not put out an official statement in lue of Meyer’s comments as they are so fresh, but you can be expecting a comment very soon from the school at hand. Ohio State needs to rally and face this storm head on because if they don’t, they will get eaten alive and the historic program that is known as Ohio State football will never be the same again.

Now it is time for me to form my opinion. I will first state my opinion in what I truly believe happened involving all of this and then I will give my takes on the people involved in this, along with the punishments that these people need to face, if any. For starters, there is no question in my mind that Courtney Smith was beaten and abused by Zach, multiple times. After watching both interviews multiple times, it was clear to tell that one was genuine and came from a place of great hurt and fear, and one came from a place of anger and annoyance, with a mix of lying in the process. In Courtney Smith’s interview, it was clear, that this poor women had been through hell and back over the years and would be hurting mentally for the rest of her life. Although she was not perfect and instigated many conflicts, nobody deserves to go through what she went through. I hope she gets all the help she needs in the future and hope that she can return to the state of normalcy in the near future. As for Zach, you are a complete and utter ass hole and you deserve to be thrown in jail for a long time. Not only did you abuse your wife verbally, you also abused her physically and as every real man knows, you never put your hands on a women in an aggressive matter. I don’t know how you can live with yourself everyday knowing what you did and how much physical and emotional pain you put on one human being. You broke every vow to your wife when you married her and YOU need to live with the guilt of this every single day. I hope now that this is all public, a proper investigation is given and that your ass is thrown in jail for a substantial amount of time. If these allegations all come out to be false, I offer my sincerest apology to you but right now, you are the weakest man I know and along with most of America do not have one ounce of respect for you.

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for, my take on Urban Meyer. Urban Meyer does not deserve to coach at Ohio State University ever again. I do however, believe that he was telling the truth when he said that he followed the proper protocol when given the information about the allegations placed on Smith. So the question you may be wondering is, if he is telling the truth, why should he still be fired? Well, as the Head Coach of Ohio State, Urban Meyer is given a lot of power. He is the boss and can do pretty much whatever he pleases to do. That being said, Meyer has the ability to fire and release coaches and players with a drop of a hat. If Meyer’s story checks out, he knew about the allegations that were placed on Zach Smith and kept him on his coaching staff for three years. Why, well he took his word that he did not lay a finger on Courtney and was totally innocent. This also means that he took no further action into researching the matter at hand. If he had done so, he would have found the pictures of a bruised Courtney or even text messages that his WIFE had received from Courtney, essentially asking for help. I’m sorry, but that is unacceptable. The fact that you take your coaches word over a matter that serious, keep him on your staff and do absolutely no further research on the matter, is disgusting. Because of Urban’s laziness, the Ohio State football team had a serial domestic abuser on their staff for YEARS and not a peep was said. Protocol or not, you are the leader of the ship and if you cared enough, this guy would have been fired in 2015 and this whole issue would not be an issue at all. Instead, Urban is sitting at his home waiting impatiently, as he is placed on paid administrative leave, will most likely get fired and may not coach at a big time program ever again.

Finally, to the Ohio State University, you guys messed up. I don’t know who exactly it was but someone needs to man up and take responsibility. You were told by Urban Meyer that there was someone on his staff that had been allegedly, domestically abusing his wife for years, and you did nothing about it. You had to live with yourself for three years that there was an alleged, domestic abuser on the practice field every day, mentoring young minds. Last time I checked, a mentor does not beat his wife. Now how will the University be made accountable if what Urban is saying is in fact true. I think if Smith is held guilty and Meyer did in fact tell a hierarchy in the Ohio State system, I feel that this is a big enough issue that not only should their 2014 National Title be stripped, but they should be suspended for an entire season from NCAA play. I understand how big of a punishment this would be, but it is time that we take a stand and realize that domestic violence needs to be taken more seriously and lying about any issue surrounding it, should be scolded. I do not think the Ohio State we know today, will ever be the same and think this is only the beginning of a deep, dark spiral and could be the end of their dominance at the NCAA level, forever.

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