Days after his news conference, Urban Meyer finally apologizes to Courtney Smith

Urban Meyer finally managed to give Courtney Smith an apology on Friday. (AP)
Urban Meyer finally managed to give Courtney Smith an apology on Friday. (AP)

There were plenty of low points during Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith’s news conference on Wednesday, but the lowest might have been when Meyer was asked what message he had for Courtney Smith.

That question was Meyer’s chance to finally give Smith and her family an apology for what they had gone through in her relationship with Meyer’s longtime assistant Zach Smith as the domestic allegations against her ex-husband became public.

Meyer opted to apologize to everyone involved with the situation instead.

“Well, I have a message for everyone involved in this. I’m sorry that we are in the situation. And I’m just sorry we are in this situation,” Meyer said.

Meyer’s apology to Courtney Smith would be reserved instead for a Friday afternoon.

Urban Meyer finally remembers Courtney Smith’s name

Meyer apologize to “Buckeye Nation” during his news conference on Wednesday. So did Gene Smith. And yet, Courtney Smith’s name did not come out of either man’s mouth a single time during the news conference. They essentially pretended the woman whose accusations had put them in this situation did not exist, just as they acted as though the true danger she faced in her relationship with Smith did not exist. She was a footnote.

And so it shouldn’t be a great comfort to Courtney Smith that Meyer finally did something that was so hard to do in front of the media. He did it with a tweet, two days later. And possibly years too late.

The full text of Urban Meyer’s statement

My words and demeanor on Wednesday did not show how seriously I take relationship violence. I sincerely apologize. I was taught to at a very young age that if I ever hit a woman, I would be kicked out of the house and never welcomed back. I have the same rule in my house and in the Football Program at Ohio State. Over the years, we have worked hard to educate and remind coaches and players of the seriousness of relationship violence.

I understand my lack of more action in this situation about this commitment. I once again apologize for this, and I extend my empathy to all women, men and families who are affected by relationship violence. This has been a real learning experience for me. I full intend to use my voice more effectively to be a part of the solution.

Let me say here and now what I should have said on Wednesday: I sincerely apologize to Courtney smith and her children for what they have gone through.

Why Urban Meyer’s ‘apology’ rings hollow

Meyer’s apology to Courtney Smith, as well as so many families affected by domestic violence, hits plenty of right notes. And yet those notes are soured when you remember so many of Meyer’s actions as he dealt with his profoundly troubled assistant.

Two days after his news conference and the release of a report that lays out how he conspired to delete text messages before his phone was turned over to Ohio State, Urban Meyer wants us to know he takes domestic violence allegations seriously.

A month after he publicly lied about knowing of a 2015 incident involving Smith, Meyer wants us to know his family raised him to understand that domestic abusers should be cast out.

Six years after he happened to never tell his new athletic director about his wide receivers coach’s past domestic abuse allegations, Meyer wants us to know that his program doesn’t welcome domestic abusers.

Nine years after he first learned of Zach and Courtney Smith’s relationship troubles, Urban Meyer wants us to know that he is ready to be a part of the solution.

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