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Urban Meyer is having a tough time making friends in his new role as Ohio State's coach.
First he upset several other Big Ten coaches with his recruiting tactics and now Meyer has upset the Ohio State LGBT group, "Scarlet and Gay" with his coaching tactics.
On Feb. 29, Scarlet and Gay sent Meyer a letter expressing disappointment over his decision to use lavender jerseys as a punishment for players who were "loafing" during offseason conditioning drills.
"Lavender is associated as a feminine color, so it deals with masculinity," Scarlet and Gay president Tim Valentine told Ohio State student newspaper The Lantern. "It would appear, if (lavender) was the color (of the mesh shirts), that the coaching team is trying to say, 'If you are loafing, if you are not performing up to par then you are performing in a feminine way, and so we are going to label you with a color that makes you non-masculine.'"
A day after Meyer received the letter, he wrote back apologizing for offending the group and said he would change the color of the jerseys.
"Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the purple mesh pullovers," Meyer said in his letter. "The use of purple was never intended to be used to offend anyone, but since it has, we have taken steps to change the color.
"Please accept our sincere apologies. We have core values of respect and honor within our program, and these are two principles that are central to my personal life, my coaching and to Ohio State and its athletics programs. Bias has absolutely no role in how we think or operate."
While I applaud Meyer addressing the student concerns and correcting the problem, I feel like Meyer is continually being held to a higher standard than others in the Big Ten. After all, the conference is home to the infamous Iowa pink visiting locker room.
Legendary coach Hayden Fry had the locker room painted pink back in 1978 and in 2005, the university decided to turn everything else in the room — the floors, lockers, urinals — pink as well. The room drew the ire of a campus lesbian organization, but Iowa was unfazed and the room is still unchanged.
Since Meyer hasn't had a chance to win games to appease the Ohio State faithful, little gestures of good faith like this show that he's more than just the football coach, that he cares about the Ohio State community. Or at least he cares enough not to go to war with any of campus groups so early in his tenure.
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