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After Further Review … Meyer’s message plus Smith’s spin equals a PR mess

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer released a letter in response to a media report and within minutes, his recently fired assistant, Zach Smith did a radio interview about his ex-wife Courtney’s domestic abuse accusations. Together the combination made like a parfait made of chocolate syrup, spinach and beets. It was nasty.

There are lots of publicity elements to this story. Some follow.

Urban Meyer’s open letter.

Meyer & Smith Legal Offices — It’s not the name of a law firm that I know of. And if one helped the Ohio State coaches (one current, one former) coordinate a legal or public relations strategy, language in Meyer’s letter (right) may be an attempt to show he isn’t legally responsible for keeping an alleged domestic violence offender on his staff. From a PR standpoint, it’s bad. Where to start …

• It’s all Urban with no mention or thought to Courtney Smith.

• The “core values” and defensive language has a stench of “I’m Urban Meyer — do you know who you’re talking to?” In PR, perception is often reality and what I read is insensitive at best.

• He admitted he lied during Big Ten Media Days because he wasn’t “adequately prepared.”  Meyer is a Power 5 coach with national titles on his resume. Chances are he’s had a minute or two of media training during his career.

• Adding insult to insult, he said he was sensitive to domestic violence because he has loving women in his family. Really? To all those who may ever make a statement to defend yourself, never use this baseless, hollow excuse whether you’re talking men, women or a minority group. When you express no empathy in a letter that’s supposed to state your case, you’re doing it wrong.

If the letter, combined with a radio interview during which Smith denied hurting his wife, was meant to stem public scrutiny, it wasn’t a well-thought plan. The timing was too choreographed and chock full of “I didn’t do it.”

McMurphy makes history — The biggest story in college sports so far this season broke on a journalist’s Facebook page. It wasn’t a professional page or one from an employer (Journalist Brett McMurphy explains why to Richard Deitsch in Deitsch’s sports media podcast). It was McMurphy’s personal Facebook page. My reaction: 1 — Facebook is good for something — whooda thunk it?  2 — as McMurphy told Deitsch, in today’s media world, you don’t need a superpower affiliation to have a national platform.

{Deep breath — a good story…}

“You can if you will.” — No lies here — this was a long time coming. Five-time NFL champion. Two-time Super Bowl winner. Five time All-Pro. Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He joins 24 other Packers to be elected into the Hall. After being a finalist 11 times, he may have been the most patient. He left us with words to live by.




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