Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer

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Bernstein: Don't Fall For Urban Meyer's Spin

Nothing is more important than focusing on facts over perceptions.

Dan Bernstein
August 05, 2018 - 2:50 pm

(670 The Score) This is going to get oily and ugly. Already we can see the plan as Ohio State waits for the first waves to finish crashing so it can get its retroactive fabrications well enough coordinated for public and private consumption, figuring out how it can somehow keep football coach Urban Meyer employed and the money still coming in.

Meyer will say or do anything at this point, counting on enough obsequious local media coverage and craven fan obsession to push back against the cold and damning facts. He's a desperate reptile fighting for his professional life, and make no mistake that as long as he keeps his scaly fingers grasped around his job title, he remains by far the single most powerful force in the equation.

The attempts at crisis management Friday provided a road map for the strategy to save him. While he was using softer euphemisms to admit to lying brazenly to reporters at Big Ten media day about what he knew in 2015, former assistant coach Zach Smith was on the radio minimizing his role regarding all the cuts and bruises that magically appeared on his wife and in the endless involvement of local police in having to control him. Meyer knows that most won't hold against him the fact that he lied to the press, and Smith is all too aware by now that victim-blaming works well among those for whom the message is intended. They know their audience.

But the timeline wrecks their plan, if anybody sane and reasonable is paying attention.

Ohio State fired Smith. That's critical, because it's the proof that officials knew how bad it was for him to be affiliated with the school after it was clear that he was dangerous both to his wife and to their interests. He was let go because Brett McMurphy's reporting exposed him, however, not because Meyer or anyone above him took issue with domestic violence at any point along the line. Even if Meyer were telling the truth about following proper protocols in reporting the incidents to his superiors, what then is the justification of keeping Smith around for those three years, let alone hiring him after what happened at Florida in 2009?

Meyer cut Smith loose only when he had to, and he refused to even take credit for doing so when he finally did, describing the move passively as an organizational decision that made itself. But no matter what, there was eventually enough fear among those in power that something really bad was getting found out. It was just way too late.

And we know that because of all the text messages McMurphy provided and the police reports that sync up with the incidents. There's no getting past such undisputed evidence, the communications in the moment -- the paralyzing fear expressed by Courtney Smith, the outreach from Shelley Meyer that evinced a full understanding of the constant peril her friend faced and most significantly Zach Smith's apology to Courtney for what she described as "picking me up by my neck strangling me in Punta Cana and at our place in April."

"I'm so so sorry," was his response.

Except he isn't and would now rather explain quite otherwise to 105.7 The Zone in Columbus. He brushed off the photos of his wife's injuries, claiming she brought it upon herself by forcing him to restrain her. Zach Smith apparently would have us believe that those two instances of picking her up by the neck and strangling her were such necessary preventative tactics.

And Meyer will rely on the passage of time and blatant revisionism to obfuscate and excuse the fact that he wanted Zach Smith close to him and his program despite knowing what he was doing to his wife. Meyer didn't blink when he first held that the 2015 incident wasn't even real, going so far as to say, "I don't know who creates a story like that."

That's some nasty re-victimization from Meyer, plain and simple, just as it was from Zach Smith on Friday. Both will continue to minimize what Smith kept doing to Courtney, executing an orchestrated and collaborative effort to change enough history to hold this regime together.

The only way it doesn't succeed is if people focus on facts instead of perceptions, staying acutely aware of what actually happened and who the real victim was.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​