Shad Khan’s spokesman insists Josh Lambo allegations didn’t prompt firing of Urban Meyer

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  • Jacksonville Jaguars
    Jacksonville Jaguars
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Urban Meyer
    Urban Meyer
    College football coach

When Jaguars owner Shad Khan issued a late-night statement announcing the termination of coach Urban Meyer, Khan said that he would have nothing more to say until after the season ended. His personal spokesman had something to say on Friday night.

“The decision by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan to dismiss Urban Meyer was made the evening of Sunday, December 12,” Jim Woodcock said, via Gene Frenette of Jacksonville.com. “It was determined to wait until the conclusion of previously scheduled appointments that week to make the announcement. Those appointments included an employee staff luncheon and meeting with Jacksonville media, both to recognize the 10th anniversary of Shad’s purchase of the Jaguars, on Monday, December 13, as well as NFL meetings in Dallas on December 14 and 15.

“The announcement was made at 12:35 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, December 16, to provide coaches and staff alike a fresh start upon reporting to the stadium that morning. Contrary to incorrect assumptions and widespread egregious reporting the dismissal was not triggered by a single newspaper report late Wednesday afternoon related to a claim made by a former player. To repeat from Shad’s official statement, the decision was reached after deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban’s tenure with our team.”

Even if Woodcock’s too little, too late effort to reverse the perception that Lambo’s allegations were the final straw for Khan is true and accurate (reasonable minds may differ on that), the timing underscores the chronic dysfunction engulfing the team. If Khan decided on Sunday night to fire Meyer, that’s when the decision should have been implemented. Who cares about Monday’s events commemorate a decade of less-than-mediocrity? The team needed to get itself pointed in the right direction, and Khan’s vanity (frankly, and with all due respect) forced the team to spend three full days preparing for a winnable game under Meyer, at a time when Khan knew that, in the wee hours of Wednesday evening/Thursday morning, he’d announce the move.

It makes no sense. Why not fire Meyer on Sunday night and make the fresh start the next day? Instead of dealing with questions on Monday about Meyer’s status (and technically not being truthful with reporters, because his comments created the impression that no decision had been made), Khan could have treated it as a fresh start. A new beginning. An ability to admit a mistake and move on, in lieu of doubling down.

Beyond Monday, the excuse for not doing it on Tuesday and Wednesday seems bizarre. Who cares if there were NFL meetings? Once a decision of this magnitude is made, every day that the implementation of it is delayed becomes a wasted day.

Then there’s the fact that Khan and company proceeded with the announcement despite the obvious connotation that Lambo’s claims, which surfaced hours before the announcement, sparked the termination. With Khan’s statement issued on Wednesday night not explaining that the decision had already been made, it was fair and reasonable to assume that A led to B.

But instead of recognizing their own role in the clusterfudge created by the ill-advised delay and the intervening comments from Lambo, the Jaguars now (through Woodcock) have clumsily gone on the offensive, chastising those who reached logical conclusions as making “incorrect assumptions” and engaging in “widespread egregious reporting.”

Sorry, Jim, but you don’t get to wag a finger on this one. The entire P.R. effort of the past week, which for some reason was removed from team P.R. professionals and snatched away by Woodcock, has been a debacle. Friday night’s statement makes it the situation worse, not better.

Shad Khan’s spokesman insists Josh Lambo allegations didn’t prompt firing of Urban Meyer originally appeared on Pro Football Talk