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Our Final Word On Urban Meyer And His Support Of The Freedom Of The Press

Work stuff this morning means we are late in posting this video of Urban Meyer confronting Orlando Sentinel writer Jeremy Fowler. However, if you haven't seen it, it is as awesome/hilarious as you imagined.

Let's break it down;

Meyer is actually pretty calm, until Fowler breaks out the "sarcastic cynic" face that is taught to all UF journalism grads. (As a telecom-news grad, I can say this because we are all happy and wealthy.) Meyer then gets excited, doesn't like Fowler's response (what the hell is he supposed to say?), and walks away. Fowler also says "Urban" like they are buddies and you know Meyer hates that. Meyer comes back when Fowler says he will, "play by the rules," but is clearly disturbed that Meyer signaled him out, considering the Miami Herald and Gainesville Sun also picked up the Deonte Thompson interview. That's when Meyer comes back to tell Fowler he's, "a bad guy," and Fowler thanks him, which is pretty much what anyone in Weimer Hall was taught to do with confronted by an excitable interview subject. 

If that was it, it would be ok. But Meyer comes back and rattles on about how great of a kid Thompson is and how Fowler should call Thompson's parents. That really bothers me because it implies that Meyer or a UAA media person told Thompson he did something wrong. It's like failing a test, but telling your parents you aced the other ones. No one thinks Thompson said anything wrong, not even Tebow. That's where Meyer tells Fowler, "if that was my son, we'd be going at it right now." Urban finally walks away, leaving a few sportswriters uncomfortably smirking in his wake. 

I don't think Fowler did anything wrong in all of this. I don't think Meyer's intent is wrong, because he thinks he is defending Thompson from media coverage. However, it should have been done in private, it shouldn't have been targeted at one guy or newspaper, and Meyer only added to any controversy. Punishing the press has always been a UAA media strategy and it should have ended when the guy who started it got charged with kiddie porn distribution.

It's also not fair to threaten to remove a newspaper from covering the team or threaten physical violence. As awesome as it would be to see Meyer fighting someone, while wearing the long sleeve t-shirt, it's not cool. In terms of coverage, I've written before about how the Orlando Sentinel covers the Gators like they are the Yankees. This is good for you as a fan, but bad for the Gators. More exposure for the most popular team in the 4th largest state is not always a good thing.

All of that said, Urban should not apologize. While I think he is actually defending Tim Tebow (remember, Thompson implied that John Brantley is a better quarterback than Tebow), I don't want Urban showing weakness. Between this and his retirement/unretirement, he has already shown enough. As for Fowler, who is my favorite beat writer, nothing should change on his end. He has a job to do, and he must be doing it well if accurate quotes are enough to anger people. 

By the way, I also think Brantley will spread the ball around better than Tebow. Brantley will win as many Heisman Trophies and National Championships as Tebow, too.