Despite the hopeful inauguration of a new President this week, the sports media is just as fractured as the country that we live in.
This column was planned last weekend when it was revealed that the Jacksonville Jaguars were hiring former college coach and FOX Sports broadcaster Urban Meyer. During the media cycle of tweets, articles, podcasts, radio shows the media rushed to break the news. In those reports, his record at Ohio State was mentioned 100% of the time. Nowhere in those reports was the controversial nature in which he exited Ohio State.
ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, and countless other media outlets all omitted his administrative leave in 2018. The tweets I saw weren’t about Meyer not reporting his own assistant coach for abusing his spouse.
Less than a full week after, ESPN broke a story that New York Mets general manager Jared Porter sent inappropriate texts to a reporter. The story was trending instantly and before 9 am the next morning, Porter had been fired by the Mets.
The incident between Porter and the reporter where he sent 62 unanswered texts to a reporter was in 2016. Meyer was put on administrative leave by Ohio State in 2018, and that wasn’t touched by any media outlet. Why the inequality?
If the reason is that baseball writers are more socially conscious than football reporters then I have trouble thinking that there is no one in the media in the city of Jacksonville that had an issue with Meyer’s arrival.
“You lose a lot of respect for Urban (Meyer),” Ohio State alum and longtime radio host Bill Michaels told me this week on my Sports with Friends podcast. “And he’s had transgressions in the past. If you watch the Aaron Hernandez story down in Florida, he knew some of things going on behind the scenes regarding Aaron Hernandez.”
“He is a prime example of an incredible motivator of men, an incredible gatherer of leaders of men, and incredible strategist when it comes to leading,” Micahels added. “But when it comes to the day-to-day concern of people, don’t upset the apple cart of the program because its my program and it’s a whole as opposed to the individual warts on the whole. He looks the other way. That is a crime, and that is a shame. To me, that’s the cowards’ way out.”
Maybe it is football in general. One of the hottest rumors in the NFL coaching carousel is Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy. He has been linked to half a dozen NFL jobs this offseason.
Bienemy may be a fantastic football coach, but the only reports I’ve seen about his not getting hired have to do with his race as a potential reason for him not getting a head coaching job. His multiple arrests don’t get written about mostly.
Most of his transgressions were from his playing days both in college and the pros. I’m not saying he can’t be hired, but shouldn’t it be a factor in judgement?
Bieiemy has been arrested multiple times but the one arrest that floored me was in 1993, when he was allegedly harassing a female parking attendant. The Orlando Sentinel wrote then that in the police report, while with his friends, Bieniemy put his hand on the attendant’s neck, startling her. She told police he also made a comment about “a bunch of black males all at once being her worst nightmare.”
Nowadays, that’s not in any media reports. Andy Reid told Brian Mitchell on ESPN 980 in DC that, “”There’s nobody that’s a better leader of men than Eric Bieniemy. Nobody. He is tremendous, and for an organization to have him be a part of that and to just take off and run with that is an owner’s dream.”
Try finding a story about Jared Porter that focuses on his work in baseball front offices without his recent firing. Porter will forever be linked to his scandal. Meyers, Bienemy not so much.
If Porter’s legacy is connected to his indiscretions (rightly so), why aren’t Biemeny and Meyer held to the same standard? The countless articles, talk show segments, and podcasts about Porter being a scumbag are all justified.
Can I please see one reporter say or write that Meyer should not be a leader of men?
At the end of the day, Urban Meyer will be judged on his winning record in Jacksonville. Reporters will write novellas on if his coaching style translates to the pro game.
Over the course of my career, I’ve created the “Seth Everett No-Interview List.” It’s my list, and I can refuse to interview whomever I want, for various reasons that are mine and mine alone. Curt Schilling, Aubrey Huff, Manny Ramirez are a few characters over the years that I have actually turned down interviews with. (Anyone who doesn’t know why can ask me on Twitter, I’m quite transparent, and not very shy.)
Urban Meyer will not be on any broadcast that I’m a part of. The only question I would ask is one no one asked him at his Jaguars introductory press conference.
Why did you not stop your assistant coach from (allegedly) beating his wife? No football question tops that.