#MeToo on steroids?
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations that he... um... knew or should have known that an assistant coach had been accused (but not convicted) of domestic violence in 2015. Because... um... people who work with people who are accused (but not convicted) of a crime are... uh... not allowed to have jobs or something. I guess.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday as the school announced it is investigating Courtney Smith's claims that several people close to the coach knew of a 2015 allegation of domestic violence against her ex-husband, former Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith, who was fired in July.
Courtney Smith told college football reporter Brett McMurphy [and former ESPN reporter] her allegations in a story posted on his Facebook page earlier Wednesday.
"All the [coaches'] wives knew," Smith told McMurphy. "They all did. Every single one."
But not so fast.
The 2009 and 2015 accusations came to light last month, when Zach Smith was charged with criminal trespassing after dropping their children off at Courtney Smith's home, which led to his firing as wide receivers coach on July 23.
On July 25, Urban Meyer denied knowing that Zach Smith had been accused of domestic violence in 2015, saying at Big Ten media days that "I was never told about anything." Meyer said the decision to fire Smith was a "very tough call."
Courtney Smith says she told Meyer's wife about the 2015 abuse but admits she doesn't know whether Shelley Meyer told her husband.
The fact that Courtney Smith called the cops and was able to get a restraining order against her now-ex-husband (they divorced in 2016) gives credence to the reports of abuse, even though she never pressed charges, which isn't all that uncommon in abusive relationships. But marriages—and divorces—are complicated, even in the best of circumstances. There's no way to know what goes on in someone's home unless you're living with them. And even then, you might not know (how much do your kids know about the inner workings of your marriage?).
Are we to understand that this is to be the new standard now? That we all have to be our co-workers' keepers and spy on them when they're not at work so we can report on their off-the-clock behavior? It's rather chilling, don't you think, what Meyer's accusers are suggesting (and the precedent this could set). But that's the direction we're heading with these amped up, hypervigilant #MeToo witch hunts.
All I can say is if you're a man in the public eye, you'd better watch your back. You don't even have to do anything wrong yourself to find yourself in their crosshairs these days.