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Meyer Rips Reporter, “Be Very Careful”

Before we break this down for you, have a look at the video of Florida’s Urban Meyer ripping into Jeremy Fowler of The Orlando Sentinel during yesterday’s practice in Gainesville.

Gotta love the truck backing up during the first part of the video.

Meyer confronted Fowler over the writer’s use of a now much-circulated quote from receiver Deonte Thompson.  You remember the one:

“You never know with Tim (Tebow).  You can bolt, you think he’s running but he’ll come up and pass it to you.  You just have to be ready at all times.  With (John) Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time.  You know what I mean, a real quarterback.”

We discussed that quote earlier in the week.

In case you couldn’t make out all of Meyer’s comments, he said at one point, “You do it one more time and The Orlando Sentinel’s not welcome here ever again.”  Then he added, “You’re a bad guy, man.  You’re a bad guy… if that was my son, we’ve be going at it right now.”

At the end of the tape it sounds like Meyer says, “Be very cafeful.”

Let’s look at this from a couple of angles.

First — Fowler did nothing but quote a player.  Everyone else then ran with it.  I didn’t realize that Fowler was in the job of rewriting or ignoring actual quotes in order to protect Florida’s players.

Second — Meyer seems quite upset about a simple quote.  Perhaps he is upset for Thompson.  Perhaps he is upset for Tebow, who he clearly cares deeply about.  Or perhaps he’s getting sick of all the talk of his staff not turning Tebow into a top NFL QB.  Either way, the last person he should be mad at is Fowler.  The reporter asked a question, got an answer and reported it.  That’s the job.

Third — Fans will love the fact that Meyer ripped a reporter.  Of course, if the reporter stopped doing his job, they would be the first to cry loudly begging for more/better coverage. 

Fourth — Parents will like the fact that Meyer stuck up for one of his players.  This could actually help the Gators in recruiting… as if UF needs help.

Lastly, I’m always amazed at how professionally journalists can act when confronted by a coach trying to bully them.  Fowler — knowing that his job wouldn’t be worth spit if he got into a shoving match with Florida’s coach — stood there and took Meyer’s rant.  “Be very cafeful?”

Just once it would be fun to see a reporter go right back at an angry coach.  “I don’t work for you.”  “I’ll talk to you with respect and you better do the same for me.”  “Back the hell off before I take this tape recorder and implant it in the side of your self-righteous head.” 

Ya know, something like that.

Across the nation, Meyer is getting his.

The Birmingham News wonders if Meyer went too far.

Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says Meyer is “wrong again” in this confrontation.

Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel believes Meyer should think again about threatening fisticuffs and ask himself What Would Timmy Do?

Robbie Andreu of The Gainesville Sun gives the blow-by-blow of the occurrence on the practice field.

And finally, Mr. Fowler himself comments on the situation and explains “Why Urban Meyer Says I’m A ‘Bad Guy.’”

On this blog, I’ve been accused of being an “Urban Meyer lover” everytime I’ve written that he’s good for the league (which he is) or that he should have retired to take care of health issues (which he should have). 

But there’ll be no defense on this one.  A reporter did his job.  A job he has because fans want information about the Gators.  If Meyer didn’t like something, he should have handled this behind closed doors or over the phone.

Instead, he chose to belittle the guy in public.  And the reporter is left to be professional, which in turn makes Meyer look like some kind of tough guy.  When in fact, Meyer just looks like a horse’s ass.


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