Urban Meyer — 210 days after he was suspended by Ohio State for mishandling allegations of domestic abuse involving one of his former assistant coaches — stood on a stage inside the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center at Grambling State University and spoke for nearly a half-hour during an event which honored the legacy of Eddie Robinson.

Think about that juxtaposition for a moment.


Meyer, whose last season at Ohio State was defined by a scandal of his own creation, was chosen as the inaugural guest speaker in conjunction with “Preserving the Eddie Robinson Playbook” festivities Thursday night.

Really? The first speaker?

Robinson was the standard by which all coaches, to this day, are judged in terms of integrity.

With Meyer — despite the national championship pedigree — he’s been forced to face questions about his own moral compass.

We can talk about how successful coaches, especially the ones who win at the highest of levels of sport like Meyer, are often uncomfortably lifted to deities despite all the ethical compromises many make to orchestrate the winning.

But that’s not the focal point in this instance.

Grambling inviting a white coach with a recent troubled past to address impressionable young black men and women at a historically black university is problematic because it perpetuates the white privilege Meyer has benefitted from.

This is a man who was allowed to continue coaching and retire on his own terms and later rewarded with an opportunity to instruct a class on “Leadership and Character” after recklessly bringing negative national attention and scorn to his employer.

A coach with a lesser resume and pedigree would have been swiftly discarded and ostracized instead of embraced like Meyer.

But because society routinely equates the splendor of achievement with righteousness, particularly with white men in positions of power, all transgressions are forgiven or simply ignored.

Grambling Athletic Director David Ponton and head football coach Broderick Fobbs should, as accomplished and respected black men, understand that if they carried the baggage of Urban Meyer, they wouldn’t be afforded similar opportunities to seek redemption or still be revered.

Certainly, those athletes wouldn’t if they behaved as unconsciously as Meyer did in Columbus.

The standard is woefully different for folks who look like the people Meyer was speaking to in that room than Meyer himself.

In his speech Thursday, Meyer talked about sacrifice, accountability and being reliable in between the football anecdotes that encompassed a 30-year coaching stint.

He also stressed making difficult decisions for the greater good and putting others above selfish desires that are hallmarks of high character individuals.

Meyer, though, admittedly failed in all those areas before, during and after the Zach Smith domestic violence allegations surfaced and were investigated.

What was his punishment? A meager three-game ban before going out on top in the Rose Bowl and embarking on speaking engagement tours with a cushy multimillion-dollar TV job on the horizon in the fall.

That, folks, is white privilege in a nutshell and Grambling State was complicit in its execution in the shadow of a man in Eddie Robinson who fought for decades to overcome it.

Kendrick Marshall
Editor for HBCU Sports, award-winning journalist, and a graduate of Jackson State University.

Former national champion coach Urban Meyer visits Grambling State

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12 Comments

  1. Slow week? The desperation is palpable.

  2. If he had not went you would accused him of being racist, cool your jets..

  3. Let me ask… I’m sure 1 out of every three persons know someone or have heard of someone being in a abusive relationship. That being said how many have gone to the authority or their employer?

  4. This is desperate and a stretch. Kendrick, this is an ugly and pathetic look for someone of your caliber. Go back to writing GOOD pieces, instead of this.

    Sincerely,
    -A Fan

    1. I get the fact that you write, I get it that you pick current news and make a decision on the best story to share with your readers. The title of your story was catchy and grabbed my attention, so I read it. After the read, I scratched my head and thought “that was an interesting take!” The strength of title of the article didn’t line up with the meat within the story. Urban Meyer speaking at Grambling is not white privilege. I can think of a title for your story as it was written, but it wouldn’t include white privilge.

      1. Thought Provoking!
        Thank you.
        GSU GRAD.

  5. PATHETIC ! If this is journalism, then you flunked! Trying to keep your ideology alive with this BS is so typical of you true racists!

  6. Sad article, this has nothing to do with white privilege. Just sounds like someone who didn’t like the overall outcome of Urban Meyers case.

  7. White people always try to deny white privilege by asserting their privilege. Wtf? Lol

  8. What if I said he was there because he wanted to celebrate and acknowledge his relationship with Eddie Robinson and continue Coach Robinson’s Legacy .

  9. I completely agree with what you wrote. Ignore the meyer fans; they’ll support him regardless of his indiscretions.

  10. You totally missed the boat here. Urban Meyer is good man who made a mistake. Much like the the young men he has taught…it’s not the end of the world. Grambling, does not quit on people and Mr. Meyer is no exception to this rule. In fact, this a perfect example of GSU living up to its motto…”where everybody is somebody.”

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