'Amid Withering Criticism,' Urban Meyer Tweets Apology

Suspended Ohio State coach's words directed at Courtney Smith
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 25, 2018 5:00 AM CDT
'Amid Withering Criticism,' Urban Meyer Tweets Apology
Ohio State University President Michael Drake offers words to football coach Urban Meyer, who leaves the stage following a news conference in Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018.   (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Amid withering criticism of his failing to more directly address domestic abuse issues at a news conference earlier this week, suspended Ohio State coach Urban Meyer issued an apology Friday to the ex-wife of a former assistant coach who was suspected of abusing her. Meyer, who is serving a three-game suspension for his handling of abuse allegations and other misdeeds from former receivers coach Zach Smith, was criticized because he declined to address Courtney Smith during a question-and-answer session with reporters on Wednesday night, reports the AP. "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," he tweeted. "My words and demeanor on Wednesday did not show how seriously I take relationship violence."

"This has been a real learning experience for me. I fully intend to use my voice more effectively to be a part of the solution." An investigative report released soon after Meyer answered questions about his suspension Wednesday night showed that he tolerated bad behavior for years from Zach Smith, who was arrested after he allegedly abused Courtney Smith in 2009 while working as a graduate assistant under Meyer at Florida. In 2015 Courtney Smith said her husband put his hands around her neck and shoved her against a wall. He wasn't charged in either case. Meyer eventually acknowledged he was aware of the 2015 allegations but didn't fire Zach Smith until July 24 after Courtney Smith was granted a domestic protection order to protect her from her ex-husband. (A female ESPN host had a strong reaction to Meyer's presser.)

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