During a recent newsroom discussion here at the Canton (Ohio) Repository about the Urban Meyer fiasco, our local news editor, Dave Sereno, remarked, "I don’t wanna know what you guys are doing."
It made everyone laugh because we understood what he meant.
Meyer, Ohio State’s head football coach, is in a mess of his own making because he has known for years former assistant coach Zach Smith was more trouble than he was worth, and yet kept him on.
Smith, whose estranged wife accused him of domestic violence incidents, is one for the books. Anyone else would have been drop-kicked years ago, but Meyer admits he had a blind spot for Smith because he is the grandson of Meyer’s mentor, the late Earle Bruce.
In other words, had Smith’s grandfather not been named Earle Brice, he’d be an equipment manager at some middle school and driving an Uber to make ends meet.
While coaching under Meyer at the University of Florida in 2009, Smith was arrested for drunken driving but didn’t tell Meyer. Now comes word that in 2014 he took some high school coaches to strip clubs in Florida because, what could happen?
It would be a violation of NCAA rules for Ohio State if it’s found Smith paid the coaches’ tabs.
Though Smith never has been criminally charged for domestic violence, Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season for mishandling the accusations.
What is the limit?
In July, Meyer mumbled his way out of a reporter’s questions pertaining to a 2015 domestic violence allegation connected to Smith, and the independent investigative panel found he deleted texts pertaining to the issue from his work phone.
Instead of using his platform to make a clear and bold statement Ohio State will not tolerate abusers, Meyer at first offered a limp apology, clearly written by some committee. His second apology was resolutely better.
Of course, for people who hate Ohio State, a three-game suspension isn’t nearly enough.
But what is the limit of a boss’s responsibility for an employee?
As an assistant coach, Smith made a six-figure salary, which he’s now squandered because he wasn’t mature enough to handle his good fortune.
If you’ve ever wondered what privilege looks like up close, this is it.
But truth be told, we all enjoy privilege in some form. The question is, what are we doing with it?
Even with its numerous inequities and injustices — and there are many — the fact you live in America puts you ahead of the game in more ways than you can possibly understand.
People literally are killing themselves to get here, because they know how good we have it compared to so much of the world.
It can’t be argued some of us have more privilege than others. For some folks, there seems to be no limit on screw-ups, flubs, do-overs and restarts. They careen through life with impunity and dare the rest of us to say something about it.
People who don’t want to admit they enjoy privilege like to pretend they did it all themselves, but the notion of the self-made man is a myth better suited for poetry and western movies.
Hard work can never be discounted, but none of us gets where we are without some help along the way.
That help, however small, is called privilege. Sometimes it means you were given a 10-yard head start by virtue of your race, or gender, or talent, or birthplace.
Sometimes, it just means you picked the right parents.
Now, you can argue you aren’t privileged, but your time would be better spent in being grateful that you are.
When it comes to privilege, Zach Smith was born near the top of the food chain. When someone like him blows a golden opportunity, it leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Reach Charita M. Goshay at 330-580-8313 or email@example.com.