On Monday, Clay Travis wrote an article expressing his considerable distaste for Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer. Travis’ article was well written, full of emotion and power; it was, from beginning to end, a strong piece of writing. It was also unintentionally frivolous, 900 words of excessive berating that would have fit nicely in The National Enquirer.
But Travis can have his say. There’s no way of proving him wrong, if that’s how he truly feels about Urban Meyer. I would just like to take a moment to examine some parts of his article, and offer my own thoughts on what he wrote.
Travis claims Meyer referred to an investigation of a double shooting and a felony battery charge as “minor issues.” Travis does not clarify when and where Meyer said this, but I trust that he did his homework. I also trust that Travis used that small quote wildly out of context, making it seem that Meyer is perfectly fine with a felony battery charge and a double shooting. A nice piece of rhetoric, similar to the kind used in a political smear campaign. But even if Meyer does not have the moral compass of Pope Francis, I’m having a hard time believing he condones assault and murder.
Travis goes on to suggest that Meyer lied about his health problems as a way to escape from the mess he made in Florida. I admit that Meyer's tenure in Florida was shaky. In fact, when Tressel resigned/was fired I stated countless times that I didn’t want Meyer as Ohio State’s coach. Meyer seemed to have an heedlessness and gloominess to him that was unsettling to me. And that’s because he was heedless and gloomy; it was a dark time in his life, which he has admitted on numerous occasions. It was during that time that Meyer began having health problems. Those problems, as well as many other aspects of Meyer’s life and career,are documented in a wonderful article written by Wright Thompson. According to Thompson, those health issues that Travis claims Meyer lied about made the coach lose 35 pounds in 2009. In the same year, Meyer collapsed after suffering from chest pains, forcing his wife Shelley to call 911.
Hell of an acting job, I must say. Urban must have really wanted to leave Florida.
Travis writes about the media’s inability to get the truth out of Meyer: "Wait a minute," [the media members] start to realize, "Urban Meyer just told me that one felony plus one felony equaled zero felonies. That can't be right." I'm not exactly sure where he's going here. According to Travis, if you ask other coaches for their opinion on Meyer, they’ll roll their eyes. That would be the part of the paper where my English professor would write, “Evidence for this?”
“There's a reason Urban Meyer doesn't stay anywhere very long,” Travis writes. And that’s true. He left both Bowling Green and Utah because he had unthinkable success. He goes on: “Urban Meyer will win games early, but his program will die in the process.” So, after a weekend during which two Ohio State players got in trouble, Clay Travis is saying the program is going to crumble. This is the beginning of the end. The sky is undoubtedly falling.
I am definitely disappointed in the weekend's occurrences, but I feel confident that this is not the end of Urban's time at Ohio State, and such a claim is laughable.
Throughout his article, Travis paints Meyer as a monster, a malicious force that will stop at nothing to win games. Except he doesn't just display Meyer as an abhorrent figure within college football, he takes it further, bringing his family into the article, calling him a liar, someone who disregards the law, and saying that he cares about winning football games more than anything in his life.
Again, this written attack was prompted by two Ohio State players getting in trouble, one of whom it appears will be cleared. But Travis still felt compelled to take to the keyboard and trash Meyer, a father of three children, two of whom have made it to the college level to play sports. He's also been married for over 25 years. Every mistake Meyer has made, both professionally and personally, he has acknowledged, taken responsibility for and worked to fix. That doesn't sound like someone who "is completely and totally full of crap," as Travis says.
Even after reports came out on Tuesday that suggested Carlos Hyde did no wrong, Travis wouldn't put his sword down.
Travis then began tweeting responses to outraged, mindless Ohio State fans who were writing ridiculous things to him. Anyone familiar with Twitter realizes there are scores of idiots out there. These people get a sense of keyboard bravery and write inadmissible things to anyone; to a recruit who didn't choose their school, a coach who made a wrong decision, or a writer who composed a ludicrous article. This type of person can be found far and wide, and exists within every fan base.
If Travis wants to use a few morons to make himself feel superior, that's fine. What he doesn't realize is that there are thousands of other people, intelligent people, who are sitting back and realizing that he's a petulant sports writer who has no interest in being reasonable.
Travis unjustifiably libeled Meyer. Why Travis went after Meyer as aggressively as he did, I have no idea. He was too prepared to jump all over Ohio State's weekend misfortunes and now he's digging his way out by hiding behind angry Buckeye fans. He has found himself a seat at the lunch table between Mark May and Skip Bayless. He wanted to cause an uproar with his article and tweets, and he did.
There is a place in the media world for people who make a name for themselves by being arrogant blabbermouths. It's a surefire way to get attention, and also to lose respect.
This time, Clay Travis truly out kicked his coverage.