Ohio State, Meyer, fail to do the right thing —again

Add Urban Meyer and Ohio State University to the growing list of colleges and institutions that have failed to take a stand for victims.

Urban Meyer lied about knowing one of his coaches had a pattern of abusive behavior. He apparently reported the claims of abuse to his superior, but kept the coach in question on his staff anyway. The only reason the coach is no longer on staff is because the victim spoke publicly about the abuse and the fact that she told Meyer and his wife about it.

This week, Ohio State decided Meyer was wrong in the way he handled the situation and suspended him for the first three games of the season. For a man who is one of the highest paid coaches in the country ($7.6 million a year), a three-game suspension is just window dressing. It’s a punishment made for appearances sake. It’s not a punishment with any real teeth to it.

In a statement he read to the media Wednesday, Meyer said he wished he had made different decisions. He said he led with his heart not his head.

It’s too bad his heart didn’t tell him to do the right thing years ago when this abuse first came to light.

Some will defend Meyer and the assistant coach in question by saying the claims of abuse are accusations from an estranged wife. But this is a case in which a judge saw fit to grant the young woman a protection order, not to mention there are children involved.

Meyer said he gave his coach “the benefit of the doubt.” It’s time we as a community and as a society give victims that benefit.

Previous inaction by Meyer and Ohio State appears to have allowed this assistant coach to continue a pattern of abuse that reaches back years. For that they should be punished. Severely. When asked if he had anything to say to the victim in the case, he had very little to say, only that he was sorry for the “situation.” No real remorse there.

At some point we as a society need to decide enough is enough. Case after case, victims of abuse come forward and tell their stories to people of authority. Case after case, those people of power, and the institutions for which they work, let the victims down: Penn State, Michigan State, the Catholic Church, the National Football League, and the list goes on.

Tonight the Marietta community will come together at the annual EVE Auction, an event that raises much needed money for domestic abuse programs and services in our community. How fortunate we are to have EVE and its programs. How sad the need for these services continues to be so great.

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