Let’s put focus on the real victims

Urban Meyer is, for now, the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He is on the Mount Rushmore of college football coaches, guiding the Buckeyes to a national title and winning two while at the University of Florida.

Meyer is under fire in regards to Zach Smith, his former receivers coach whom he recently fired. Smith allegedly abused his now ex-wife, Courtney Smith, over an extended period of time, including a 2015 incident for which Meyer is now under fire for (and currently on paid leave) knowing about, but refusing to remove Smith from his staff at the time.

I thought long and hard about writing my thoughts on whether Meyer should keep his job or not, but that’s been discussed ad nauseam and, quite frankly, isn’t the real issue.

I love football. I love everything about it. I love just about everything about sports, including my job, as anyone who knows me can attest. When I see someone in public, it’s often the first thing they want to talk about, whether it’s a local or national topic.

And I’m happy to do so.

But you know what, I don’t really love it, at least not in comparison to the love I have for the women in my life.

Let’s focus our attention, all of it, on Courtney Smith and victims of domestic abuse.

I think we often are outraged at the time for Courtney and others like her. But when what is deemed the major issue (in this case whether or not Meyer keeps his job) gets resolved one way or the other, Courtney and countless other victims like her fade from our consciousness.

I watched Courtney’s 20-minute interview with Kristen Balboni on Stadium, and it was gut-wrenching.

Balboni does a tremendous job of being both compassionate while also getting to the heart of the issue at hand.

Most of us are guilty of talking about these issues in a broad sense, but not truly thinking about the actual effects they have on the people involved.

Well I thought about them, I thought about them long and hard, much like I thought about the message from Aly Raisman and other gymnasts (over 100 strong) at the ESPY’s last month, standing up as survivors who helped to put their longtime abuser and serial pedophile Larry Nassar away for life.

Each issue presents different victims – one involving young girls, the other grown women. But I’ll tell you what, they illicit a similar reaction.

I thought about their words, the abuse each took and applied it to my own life and imagined what it would be like to have the women in my life come to me and tell me a story like this.

Please do this. Imagine the bruises, imagine the tears, imagine the fear.

Do this, and I promise your perspective will change.

It will go from wanting to talk about Urban Meyer’s job status for hours to wanting to fight like hell.

As a society, we have to do better. As men, we have to do better.

I can’t imagine caring for football more than I care for my mother, sister, niece, grandma, aunts, cousins (who are cousins in title only, but are much more like sisters) and friends.

I pray I never have to hear a story like that directly.

But the reality is there are people out there that do. And when it involves someone high profile, or anyone, for that matter, victims deserve more than just the courtesy outrage they receive from the general public.

Let’s put the real issue out in the forefront and not just pretend like we care. Let’s not forget about Courtney and all the other victims out there. Let’s fight, fight for justice for them and fight to make sure these women don’t have to live in fear.

And then we can talk about whether or not Meyer should keep his job.