Take Your Time Coach, Take YOUR Time
by Mia M. Jackson
I continue to be amazed by the critics and journalists who have committed Urban Meyer to hell for his 48-hour retirement waffle. Do people truly believe that coaches and players have all been 100% certain of each statement they’ve shared with their administration and owners? I think not. I’m certain that some of our infamous coaches teetered about retirement dates and time off – but they lived Pre-Twitter and the all day news bubble. Word didn’t travel the world in 30 seconds like it can today.
In the current age of 24-hour-365 news cycle, every single sneeze goes on record. I can imagine that Coach Meyer had a scary health crisis and reacted the way that most human beings would act. He can be afraid of death or debilitation like the rest of us. While he’s paid well, I think the man has served his constituency loyally. But folks still want to behave as if he were betraying the universe. “How dare he worry about his own kid?!”
Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote, “He may be the best coach in college football today, but he just committed the cardinal sin of his profession: He made a decision based solely on emotion.” Schultz shared a small token of compassion for the Coach Meyer’s chest pains, headaches and brain cysts in his article. But the focus was still on the damage he’d done to the University of Florida. Guess what? Gator Nation will be just fine. Maybe they will feel a tad uncomfortable if and when a new head coach takes over but the school will survive. Even if Coach Meyer returns, the school will adjust to losing a Tim Tebow. He coaches talent, he nurtures talented players. He doesn’t give birth to them. If he shows a glimmer of humanity and emotion, then we damn him as a traitor? Well call the preacher and let that be between him and his God.
Please pardon me if I think he should take some time to make up his mind. Should the successful coach opt to prioritize health, faith and family over Florida football so be it! I’d rather he do that earnestly and with conviction versus bowing to pressure because the recruits might get uneasy. If only each of us could experience making life-altering, family-unnerving decisions in front of millions of people, maybe we’d be a bit more forgiving when the man happened to have a natural fear of leaving his own children too soon. This story is as familiar as are the stories of divorce and estrangement. They were just easier to keep private in the past. There was something called confidence that many journalists kept, even if it meant waiting a day on the story.
All I can say at this point is don’t blow your nose in public Coach Meyer. A reporter is posted outside your office door to hear just how long you sniffle. For now, just keep it to yourself.