Fanatics Removes T-shirt After Saying Takes on Double Meaning in Urban Meyer Controversy
As Ohio State University ponders the elements of a domestic violence matter that has come to include an investigation of head football coach Urban Meyer, to say life on the renowned campus is a tad tense would prove an understatement. While the institution announced last night that it would complete its probe within two weeks, licensed sports goods seller Fanatics has already decided to suspend sales of a T-shirt whose text has taken on a possible double meaning as the scandal has unfolded.
No matter the circumstances, domestic violence accusations deserve ample consideration, so, given Ohio State University’s pedigree as an admired learning destination and the fielder of one of the nation’s top college football teams, this situation has earned considerable coverage. At the core, officials are seeking to determine what awareness Meyer, who has guided the Buckeyes since 2012 and led them to the 2014 national title, had of a domestic violence charge against then-assistant coach Zach Smith.
Ohio State placed Meyer on administrative leave on Aug. 1, but the coach took to Twitter on Friday to explain his handling of the overall ordeal that has seen Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, claim that Meyer’s wife, Shelley, had said she would relay the abuse allegations to the head coach. The latter Smith, according to ESPN, relayed to a multiplatform sports network that she believes Meyer knew of the 2015 legal trouble that his now-former helper incurred.
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) August 3, 2018
In the Twitter post, which he addressed “Dear Buckeye Nation,” Meyer defended his actions regarding the reporting of the allegation, with his missive drawing 2,700 replies. While he speaks of rejoining the “incredible coaches and student-athletes in our program,” one wonders if that will be the case, with a few responses taking the school to task for having retained Zach Smith for three years beyond Meyer’s supposed reporting of the hostility. Fanatics, however, is a far different entity than Ohio State University is, so the popular online retailer has made unavailable a T-shirt that declares “Urban Meyer Knows,” which users of other websites have been quick to acquire. Other items that make mention of Meyer are available for purchase, but it is obviously the questionable top that merits the most attention.
This (official) Urban Meyer shirt certainly looks a bit different today. Yiiiiiikes. pic.twitter.com/ex39Daq8Fd
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) August 1, 2018
Through Promo Marketing, Fanatics has already fetched a fair share of looks at its business dealings, so the decision to pull the shirt makes sense from a marketing point of view and a social awareness angle, especially since the company is already facing its own legal squabble. The stance against the shirt has not proven universal yet, and social media users have jumped on the opportunity to discuss the possible irony of the shirt’s very existence, given the investigation’s placement of Meyer at the center. One wonders what the result of the probe will do for the popularity of the shirt, especially since the decision to oust the coach, should it come to that, could make it an even more coveted product, albeit one lacking in couth with respect to its ability to make light of a serious topic.