Ohio State Fans Hold Rally To Defend Urban Meyer, Bizarrely Attack ESPNAugust 7, 2018
Find a college football coach accused of wrongdoing, and we’ll find you fans willing to defend him.
A small group of Ohio State fans gathered outside Ohio Stadium in Columbus early Monday night for a rally to support Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer, who is on paid administrative leave as the school investigates how Meyer and his staff handled serious domestic violence allegations against his former wide receivers coach, Zach Smith.
Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, claims Meyer knew of her husband’s abuse but kept him on staff for several years and didn’t report him to anyone at the school.
Those allegations fell on deaf ears at Monday’s rally, where fans chanted Meyer’s name, sang Ohio State’s fight song and held signs supporting their head coach.
Ironically, many of the signs targeted ESPN, which fired Brett McMurphy, the reporter who initially broke the story, more than a year ago. A few bizarre examples included, “ESPN SEC FRAUDS,” “ESPN = FAKE NEWS” and “FIRE ESPN! BRING BACK COACH URBAN.”
The rally appeared to be led by Jeff Hamms, a die-hard Ohio State fan nicknamed “Tennessee Jeff,” who told reporters he believed Meyer was being treated unfairly.
“We’re here to support head football coach Urban Meyer,” Hamms said, via ESPN.com. “I don’t condone what our ex-wide receiver coach did.”
Stacy Elliott, the father of former Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott, also attended the rally and defended Meyer, claiming he shouldn’t be punished even if he knew that Smith abused his wife.
“(Urban) handled it for what his job required him to do,” Elliott said, via ESPN. “He wasn’t the first person to know it happened. His boss knew before he knew.”
Others at the rally wanted to redirect culpability to Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith in an apparent attempt to blame anyone but their beloved head coach, whose absence may cost their favorite football team a few games in the win column.
Ohio State fans also started an online petition to “Save Urban Meyer,” which had over 32,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports Images