Urban Meyer: ‘I apologize for the perception that I don’t’ respect women
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said he should have fired Zach Smith and apologized for the “perception” that he doesn’t take domestic violence seriously in an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi that aired Sunday morning.
Meyer was suspended for three games by the university after an investigation determined it was likely the coach knew that his assistant coach, Smith, was abusing his wife, Courtney Smith.
Rinaldi asked Meyer about the now-infamous values posted in the Buckeye’s locker room for players to abide by, the first two of which are “honesty” and “respect women.”
“I still hold those values so firm, so strong, and I apologize for the perception that I don’t,” Meyer said.
“For the perception,” Rinaldi repeated, holding Meyer accountable until he also apologized “for the actions.”
Zach Smith was first arrested in 2009 after a domestic dispute with his wife, while he was employed by Meyer at the University of Florida. Meyer called his decision to hire Smith again at Ohio State a “bad decision” and said he erred in not firing Smith after he was arrested again in 2015.
Explaining why he brought Smith onto his staff in Columbus, Meyer said, “I wanted to have someone with some familiarity to my offense, and Zach seemed like a guy that was doing very well,” Meyer said. “And I checked on him, I did background checks with coaches he worked with, and he came back (with) very high marks.”
Meyer also doubled down in saying that he did not know Courtney Smith was texting his wife, Shelley, to say Zach Smith scared her. Meyer claimed his wife “had a reasoning” to hide the information from him, out of compassion for Courtney Smith.
Meyer’s three-game suspension ended this weekend; Ohio State went 3-0 to start its season. Meyer will likely be back on the sideline for the Buckeyes next Saturday at a non-conference home game against Tulane.