When I wrote about Shane Matthews criticizing the Gators (and Urban Meyer specifically) in January, I wasn't sure about noting it because I kept thinking it was much ado about nothing. After all, the 2008 Gators are the best team in school history and were playing for a National Championship. Matthews is a former player with a microphone. The only difference between him and a student at WRUF radio (which I once was) is athleticism. I shouldn't really care what Matthews says and that is especially true of anyone within Florida Football. But Urban, about nine months after Matthews original comments and five after restating them, goes after Matthews.
"If you want to be critical of a player on our team or a coach on our team you can buy a ticket for seat 37F, you're not welcome back in the football office. You're either a Gator or you're not a Gator."
Of course, Matthews is now shocked that Meyer is paying attention to him. Which is what he wanted in the first place. Now that Matthews' gig with the All-American Football League is epic fail, all he has is a radio show. If you're hosting a radio show, wouldn't you want a coach with two National Championship rings talking about you? My thing was that Matthews made his comments as if he was just a concerned alum, not a radio host who also wants to influence the program. There is a huge difference if Jesse Palmer made the same statements versus Matthews.
Also, note how Meyer makes a point of saying "football office." Do you think any regular person can just walk in there and protest? Or someone who is an alum?
I don't like Meyer's line, which is like Gee-Dub's, "You're either with us or against us." I tend to look at Lane Kiffin as building a terrorist network in Knoxville, but I'd hate for Meyer say I'm not a Gator because I like watching LSU and Utah. There are always gray areas, and football coaches and politicians have to understand that. Criticism is necessary.
But Meyer should have never said anything. He has every right to defend his players, but no right to say who is a Gator and who isn't. (Does degrees or rings determine Gator Nation citizenship?) Not only that, it's not worth it responding to something like this. Let it go and worry only about winning another title.