Jack the Ripper? Rank Amateur.
Charles Manson? Not even close.
The worst person in the whole wide world, in all of recorded history, is one Urban Frank Meyer, III.
If you read only Florida based writers, you just might believe the above statement. You might have made the same comment in a seedy dive bar wearing jorts and discussing the glory years of Steve Spurrier and Chris Weinke.
It’s no secret that a good number of Florida fanatics have a certain amount of distaste for Ohio State’s new Head Coach. They are a very vocal group. They make their voice heard everywhere they can, from social media, to call in shows, to internet message boards. They also show up in the places you wouldn’t expect.
Like the pages of the Orlando Sentinel, the bytes of AOL’s SportingNews, and the ones and zeroes of a CBS NFL writer’s Twitter account. These are people who purport to be professional journalists, yet eschew everything they were taught in J-school.
- Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
- Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
Two central tenets of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Both tossed out of the window by so-called journalists when the subject turns to the two time National Championship coach. Apparently to some, ethics are but a roadblock to a juicy story or a rage filled screed. Why adhere to the basic guidelines of your profession when you can pen a column that is guaranteed to grab eyeballs and garner revenue for your employer?
One of the best examples of this is Mike Bianchi’s latest “article.” Bianchi, in case you were unaware, is a paid journalist for the Orlando Sentinel. Yes, he actually draws checks from the Sentinel for writing. I know, I was surprised as well. While Andrew did a great job dissembling the “arrest record” portion of Urban Meyer’s tenure in Gainesville, Bianchi still buys into it.
He took serious faux outrage that Urban not only suspended Jake Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort, but rescinded their scholarships for the summer session as well. Bianchi takes several shots at Meyer in his column, extolling the readers to remember back at the University of Florida the arrests that took place under Urban and how they show he’s soft on crime. Let’s take a look at each of them, shall we?
“Who, according to a recent story in The Sporting News, allowed star wide receiver Percy Harvin to go unpunished after physically assaulting Billy Gonzalez – his position coach at UF?”
Billy Gonzalez, the day after the Matt Hayes hit piece was vomited onto AOL’s servers, vehemently denied that this ever took place. Strike 1, Bianchi.
“Like the player who got arrested for running up charges on a dead woman’s credit card?”
According to Bianchi’s own newspaper, this was Jamar Hornsby, who was kicked off the team for the offense. Strike 2, Bianchi, looking.
“Or the one who sent a text message threatening to kill his girlfriend?”
Chris Rainey was suspended from the team immediately upon his arrest on September 12th, 2009 and did not return to the team until the Georgia game, the 8th game of the season after completing a contract with the team that stipulated certain conduct. Swinging Strike 3, you’re out. But since we’re charitable here, we’ll give you another couple of big boy swings at the teeball.
“Or the one who stole a $1,500 laptop computer and then threw it out the window when police arrived?”
This one might sound familiar. He’s the second Heisman winning QB that Meyer has coached. Only he didn’t win the Heisman at Florida. He won it at Auburn. That’s right, the player in question is Cam Newton, reigning NFL Rookie of the Year. When Newton was arrested for stealing the laptop, he was immediately suspended for the remainder of the 2008 season. Newton then transferred to Blinn College in Texas before testing the free agency waters. Newton never played for Meyer again after his arrest. Strike 4.
“Or the one who opened the trunk of his car, pulled out an AK-47 assault rifle and began firing it into the air at 3 in the morning?”
Ronnie Wilson was suspended from the team in 2007 following this incident, including from all Florida academics as well. He rejoined the team in 2008 before being kicked off after a third offense. Strike 5.
Bianchi failed miserably to back up his point of Meyer being a lax disciplinarian with these examples. In each of them, the player was either booted from the team or suspended for a good portion, if not all of the season. By the way, the names of the players (because Bianchi refused to use their names) and the dispositions of their cases all came from, you guessed it, the Orlando Sentinel.
We know that Bianchi must have access to the archives of his own employer, right? Then I have to ask the question: Why is he so ignorant? Is it willful disregard for the truth? Is it PAGEVIEWS style journalism, the likes of which Brooks Melchior and Clay Travis have perfected? Perhaps it’s just the end result of a jilted lover not being able to let go of the past and accept that their significant other has moved on to greener pastures.
Meyer was able to let go of Florida, you guys. Maybe it’s time to do the same with him. Because now you’re just getting creepy.