Urban Meyer changes story on Trayvon Martin photo
Former Ohio State defensive back Marcus Williamson made some disturbing claims about Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes football program on Saturday, and Meyer was quick to deny one of them. The former coach has since changed his stance.
Williamson, a fifth-year senior who says he has retired from playing, went on a Twitter rant during the Rose Bowl between Ohio State and Utah on Saturday night. He bashed Ohio State fans and the team’s coaching staff. He also said Meyer once used a photo of Trayvon Martin in a PowerPoint slide that informed Buckeyes players of the team’s “no hoods” policy.
Meyer responded on Sunday. He told author Jeff Snook that the claim about the Martin photo was “absolutely false.” He did, however, confirm that Ohio State had a no hats, hoodies or sunglasses rule for team meetings. Meyer has since learned the photo was used, though he insists he had no prior knowledge of it.
On Monday, former Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell took to Twitter to provide some context for Williamson’s troubling claim. Powell said he was told by Buckeyes players that an Ohio State staffer did, in fact, use the Martin photo. Players believed the staffer was truly unaware of the story behind the photo.
The players I’ve talked to said the person in charge was truly uneducated on that situation & really didn’t have any idea the story behind the image. So Marcus isn’t telling a lie about that. It was something that was handled in private. I still stand on my racial stance of OSU
— Tyvis Powell (@1Tyvis) January 3, 2022
Meyer told Rob Oller of The Columbus Dispatch on Tuesday that he just this week learned that the Martin photo was used.
“I didn’t know about it until one hour ago, until after talking to (Powell),” Meyer explained. “I wasn’t there (in the meeting). None of the coaches were present. It was a support staffer who was in error and apologized.”
Meyer added that players should be careful about using the “‘R’ word” (racism) in association with Ohio State. He insists the program advocates for players and genuinely cares for them. Some players attested to that when defending Meyer and Ohio State earlier this week.
Meyer was fired by the Jacksonville Jaguars last month following a brief yet disastrous tenure with the team. There have probably been more negative headlines written about him in recent months than in all of his previous coaching years combined.
Photo: Oct 10, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer reacts during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports