Urban Meyer on Wednesday came clean about an Ohio State staffer using a Trayvon Martin photo to illustrate the program’s “no hoodie rule” which was first brought up in allegations by a former player.
“I didn’t know about it until one hour ago, until after talking to (former Buckeyes safety Tyvis Powell),” Meyer told the Dispatch on Tuesday. “I wasn’t there (in the meeting). None of the coaches were present. It was a support staffer who was in error and apologized.”
The former Buckeyes coach who was recently fired by the Jacksonville Jaguars also cautioned those who appear too willing to decry everyone as a racist before knowing a story.
“My biggest thing is you use that ‘R’ word (racism) and it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, people run with it,” Meyer said.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer stands on the sideline during the final minutes of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Jacksonville, Florida. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File)
Marcus Williamson, a former Ohio State cornerback who played for the Buckeyes from 2017 to 2021 during the Urban Meyer and Ryan Day eras, made the shocking allegations on social media Saturday.
Williamson said Meyer told him he’d “ruin my f—–g life” if the coach ever caught Williamson smoking. He then divulged rules Meyer had about wearing hooded sweatshirts, saying the longtime coach invoked Martin, who was shot and killed in Florida in 2012.
“My first team meeting. (True story 2017) This photo was presented to us via PowerPoint to institute our building wide rule of ‘no hoods’ in the building,” Williamson wrote.
“After said meeting — the freshman and myself go to sign the hours of paperwork essentially signing our rights as Americans over to osu and the governing bodies,” Williamson added.
Williamson continued his rant about the college football industry.
Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Marcus Williamson catches a pass on Nov. 20, 2021. (Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“The industry is often silent because everyone is obviously chasing the big pay day. But the injustices these players face just isn’t right. We literally put our bodies and lives at risk with 0 guarantee.
“Why don’t you leave? Quit? Most of us have only been athletes our entire lives. This is how we try to feed our families and children. It’s either play their game or have 0 chance at the lottery.
“Some of the best human beings I know played on some of my teams. But we bond thru the traumas we endure and the hardships we face to keep it 100.
“We play a violent sport for free. Yet narratives like these want you to believe that we’re somehow soft or don’t love the game if we use our leverage as athletes to make $$$”
Powell defended Meyer to the Dispatch.
“People think it’s racist to show that photo of Trayvon Martin, and I understand where they’re coming from. To the Black culture that is huge. There will be an uproar whenever that is brought up in a meeting or whatever context. Automatically it is offensive to people.
“They automatically assume coach Meyer was racist. From my own experience, I can say nothing racial or racist was ever going on during my time.”
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer watches as his team warms on Aug. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Brett Duke, File)
Former Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry defended Meyer in a tweet over the weekend.
“Saw a former Buckeye brother sharing about his career last night. We can get into the free labor economy of CFB as a whole, but painting OSU as racist ain’t it. And Urban was a tough ass coach, but he always invested in us as players and people. Just a window into my experience,” Perry wrote.
The allegations against Meyer came after the Jaguars fired the head coach. Meyer faced constant controversy since taking over the Jaguars job – from hiring a coach on his staff who was accused of racism to allegedly kicking and berating his kicker during a preseason practice. There was also a video that surfaced showing a woman who was not Meyer’s wife dancing near his lap in Cincinnati after his team had returned to Jacksonville.