This wasn't about Tebow

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Once again, those who are never around this program, those who do not have a clue what Urban Meyer is all about, are getting it wrong.

I was stunned when I saw what the reaction was Thursday to Meyer’s heated confrontation with the Orlando Sentinel’s Jeremy Fowler after practice Wednesday over a quote from Deonte Thompson. Based on what’s being said on message boards and on other forums around the nation, one popular perception is that Meyer was incensed because his all-time favorite player Tim Tebow came out looking bad in all this.

Those who think that have missed the point completely. This had nothing to do with Tebow. Nothing at all. This is all about the embarrassment Thompson was going through Wednesday over his quote that John Brantley was a “real” quarterback. What Thompson was really saying is Brantley is a more traditional passing quarterback than the dual-threat Tebow. During the interview Monday, Thompson called Tebow a legend and praised him. But once the national media caught wind of the quote, thanks in part to the Sentinel making such an issue of it on its Web site, Thompson was portrayed as a wide receiver who was dissing Tebow and implying he was glad Tebow was gone.

This whole thing blew up, and from what I’ve heard, Thompson was devastated by it. Meyer saw this and quickly came to his defense after practice.

When Meyer, in his confrontation with Fowler, said, “When you get a chance, call his family. He’s never been in trouble since he’s been here. He’s a great student and a great kid. If he was my son, we’d be going at it right now.”

He wasn’t talking about Tebow. Meyer was talking about Thompson, a hard-working junior who bought into the Meyer system once he got here from Belle Glade and has been really busting his butt in the offseason in hopes of having a breakout year in 2010. The players who buy in, the players who do the right thing on and off the field, in the classroom and in the community … Meyer absolutely loves these guys. They are like sons to him.

Meyer saw one of his sons hurting in a big way Wednesday and he came to his defense. Simple as that.

Should Meyer have done it the way he did, in front of about a dozen members of the media, including a television reporter with a camera and a newspaper photographer? I don’t have a major problem with it. I’ve seen coaches explode on writers before. It comes with the territory. Steve Spurrier zinged me a few times in front of the other hacks back in the 1990s. He also did it privately with a phone call. In retrospect, maybe Meyer should have called Fowler and expressed his anger in private. But hey, Meyer did it his way, and it’s over now. Time to move on.

71 COMMENTS

  1. Finally……someone gets it right. Thank you.

    People will do anything to bash Tebow and Meyer and make a “story” where none exists.

    Now, can you address the issue that the whole Tebow “asking to pray before the Wunderlich and being told to STFU” is a hoax? That’s another bit of drama to come out of the media.

  2. Robbie I think you’ve got it wrong this time. I love Meyer but he blew it on this one. A coach with his experience should know better. Now he sounds like that boob Gundy at ok state. Fowler did nothing wrong in my opinion. He quoted the kid and if you read the blog he even defends Thompson saying he suspects that he was referring to John as more of a traditional qb.

  3. Thank you for that wonderful blog. It needs to be known what Thompson really said about Tim and how much the nonsense of so called journalists using his statements out of context to knock Tim was paining him. The media today needs to regain its integrity. I fully support Coach Meyer’s actions. Men handle things differently and particularly in football. I’m glad Meyer made it clear that kind of thing is unacceptable. Again, Thank you.

  4. I said it earlier and I’ll say it again. It’s not the autograph seekers after practice. It’s the selfish media drama queens digging up any fragment of dialogue to create controversy in a desperate attempt to further their careers that put so much undue pressure on these coaches and students. Where does it all end? Closed practice!!! I can’t say that I’d blame Urban for doing it, but it would be a shame. Perhaps he could call his friends at Florida Pest Control and have them spray those of you vexing his practices and players!

  5. In my opinion, Mr. Andreu, only you and Joe Goodman of the Miami Herald have figured this out and quite frankly I think it’s broader than either of you have written.

    Certainly Meyer was protecting Deonte Thompson, but I think Coach Meyer knew exactly what he was doing in the confrontation. I think he wanted the media coverage, including the camera, to send a message to Thompson, his parents, the rest of the team and their parents and future players (and their parents). The message is this: I will do my best to protect these young men under my care and coaching when I think they’re being unfairly treated.

    I don’t have problem with Fowler’s original story. Didn’t like what a lot of others have done with it.

    Remember when UF got chosen to play the Sugar Bowl against FSU for what turned out to be the national championship game? On the TV program, Coach Spurrier, essentially said “thanks for the invite and I sure hope FSU doesn’t play as dirty in January as they did against us in Tallahassee.” SOS wanted that attention and wanted the media guns focused right on him.

    In my opinion, Meyer is doing the same thing for slightly different reasons.

    Nice post and thank you for the job you do, sir.

    Don’t you just love big time college football?

  6. Robbie – Come on. I love Urban Meyer as much as anyone, but there’s no way he should have threatening a reporter over something as mild as that. He came across as a crazy person and that’s, I’m sure, going to amp up his stress level. Serenity now!

  7. Scott, you got this all wrong. Meyer was telling Jeremy Fowler that he was a bad guy because he was the one who first quoted Thompson and was the catalyst to this whole mess. Like Robbie said, Meyer sees these guys a sons and was coming to his defense like any parent would. He saw that Thompson wa distraught about what he said and was defending Thompson. I admire Meyer more for this. Did he do it the right way? Maybe not. But he wanted to make it clear. You mess with my players and you mess with personally. Good job coach Meyer.

  8. Great article. I have always loved Meyer for the way he backs his players. He’s an emotional guy and he wears it on his sleeve. I’m glad he did it in front of the other media member, maybe then they’ll think twice about writing irresponsible articles.

  9. It does not matter which side your on in this incident. Meyer got what he wanted. He is not shy and this story led all talk shows, and Jim Rome. All recruits are going to see is a coach sticking up for his players. Thompson is upset, and his coach has to stick up. In private will not work. You know Urban now has the entire locker room on his side. J. Fowler is an idiot for saying he only “quoted”. He left out half the interview and half his article is filled with his spin.

    Urban is not an amateur of Urban, he knew what he was doing, he knows how to play the media.

  10. You never know with Tim. 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 Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time. You know what I mean, a real quarterback.

  11. I think this should be a lesson to all of the pompous media types out there. You do not have the right to tear people down, especially student athletes. It is my opinion and the opinion of many, many americans that the media has long outstepped it’s constitutional rights! Myer just feels the way I do and rightly so – the reporter got what he deserved. Let this be an example.

  12. What did Thompson “really say” other than what Fowler printed? Fowler said he printed the quote in its entirety. I don’t understand Robbie’s blog here…where did somebody said Meyer was mad about Tebow? Thompson said what he said, Fowler quoted him, and Meyer comes at Fowler saying Thompson is a “great kid”? That’s super, but what does that have to do with Thompson’s quote? Nobody was torn down, Thompson just meant Tebow isn’t a typical QB. Jeez.

  13. And then, to make this story even more sensational than it has to be, ESPN, when they posted the video to their website, bleeped out part of it, even though Meyer did not say any curse words. Looks to me like ESPN is on a smear campaign.

  14. Come on Robbie, you’re better than this. Sounds like you’ve been spending too much time with dooley and drinking his kool-aid. This is a major sports program, not Bob’s Mountain College for the Blind and Deaf. Thompson said it, what he meant by it is not clear. You may be right, the sentinel may be right, or you both may be wrong. Urban acted like a little league dad, not the coach of a championship team. If you’re going to let your boys talk to the media then you might as well expect things to be written that you do not agree with. This was bush league and I’m disappointed in the fact that you forgot your role and a reporter and became a fan

  15. While I agree with you that Thompson’s quote was not demeaning towards Tebow, a reporter did his job by quoting a player. Fowler even clarified in his blog that he did not find the comments negative towards Tebow and came to the same conclusion you did. While he should have clarified his comments in his original piece, he did in his blog and did his job by reporting a player’s quote. If Meyer wanted to respond he shouldn’t have done it by belittling Fowler and making himself look bad.

  16. Yes, that totally excuses Meyer’s bullying and intimidating a reporter who had no control over how his article would be interpreted.

    But based on his behavior in December, it’s clear the guy knows how to prioritize the important things.

  17. “me and you right now…”

    come on Urban Myer.

    shows after millions he’s a jock, who if it weren’t for a bunch of 18-22 yr. olds Myer might be out there like the rest of us, most likely selliing insurance or something.

    As far as Tebow goes, if he’s first round material he will go 1st round, doesn’t matter what some hack sports writer posts.

    Get real Urban and stop looking like a fool with a camera running

  18. An interesting example of getting the actual quote correct, but not only taking it out of context, but separating it from the full quote, creating an entirely differnt perception. Happens all the time these days, as we have become a society obsessed with drama, controversy, and celebrity worship / destruction. The media feeds what consumers devour, just ask the tabloids, both print and broadcast. Where these don’t exist, they create them, all in the name of making a buck. In this case, two young men were wrongly portrayed, but the Orlando paper gained the notoriety they no doubt were seeking.

  19. Obviously Coach Meyer really cares about his guys and feels like they’re all one big family. He appears more than willing to defend his players, and I respect the man for that. I suspect his players and recruits respect him even more. That’s why I kinda wonder if maybe part of the reason for this big scene (right in the middle of a bunch of media guys) was intentional. I mean, you know Coach Meyer knew that this story was really going to blow up when he marched right up to Fowler and all the rest. I think he was genuinely protective of Deonte, but I think this thing also helps with recruiting because it shows how much he cares and how far he’s willing to go to defend his guys.

  20. Probably the best thing to come of this whole issue is that Deonte Thompson has learned to never, ever say anything to a reporter again. He now knows what a reporter will do with any remark, however innocent, he makes.

  21. Meyer taking care of his players. He is quick to recognize an attempt to inject division in his team. He said it all when he said if Thompson was his son he would have physically all over the jerk. Seems as though the Sun has a track record for items as such. As Meyer stated, one more article like that and they are history.

  22. I think Meyer was just trying to defend and protect Thompson, who must be horrified as the massive wildfire of attention this quote (requoted incessantly out of context and paraphrased too) has received in the national media and blogs. He may have lost his cool, but those are the breaks, Jeremy Fowler. I’ve been a reporter too, and sometimes you get chewed out on the beat! I kind of feel bad for Thompson in this situation. I hope he has a great year!

  23. Typical media – not all though taking a quote out of context to create a story and not including the full text to accurately portray what Thompson was really saying to sell something. Shameful! Doesn’t everyone want someone to have their back like that though. Lesson here: Don’t mess with Urban Meyer.

  24. It’s obvious that some of these folks have never played or especially coached even in the high school ranks. You form a great bond with a lot of these kids and you take up for them with anyone who doesn’t understand the situation. Not surprised at Urban’s coming to Thompson’s defense. These kids get enough undue publicity from some of these hacks that never had a helmet on their head. I support the coach however he did it. Some of these so-called journalists need a clue!

  25. No matter what side of the fence you’re on…you GOTTA love the passion this man has for his players!! I don’t know whether Urban handled it the right way or not. But one thing I DO know…he handled it! If I was a player, I’d be fired up to play for the man. If I was a recruit, I’d want to play for the man. And for those who are saying this just shows he’s stressed out…well I would think that a good blessing out of the media once in a while might be GOOD for your mental health! Anyway, Coach Meyer, man it’s good to have you back!!

  26. Joe said “a reporter who had no control over how his article would be interpreted. “?????

    Give me a break! He knew exactly how it would be taken, and he printed it anyway. He should take the heat for this, and good for Meyer calling him out on it. He laid down the boundary five years ago about not messing with the players, and this reporter will suffer the consequences for crossing that boundary.

  27. any gator football fan knew what Dante was saying, even Tebow himself explained it that way. Coach Myers held a rage against that writter for 5 years( see his dressdown to him). Unbelieveable!! No wonder he has stress problems–A little more love, appreciation and tolerance of others besides himself,family and football family would go a long way in stress relief

  28. ESPN has a video of the confrontation on their website that bleeps Meyer out when he says “You’re a bad guy man”. It’s pretty lame that they alter the video to take it out of context and make it appear as if he’s cussing at the guy.

  29. Disappointed in the way Meyer handled this. Basically challenging him to a fight; in a game that’s 15 yards, and you have to keep your cool. Meyer lost his cool on this one. The guy quote Thompson correctly. If this were Lane Kiffin, or Randy Shannon, we’d call them thugs, but because its our coach we defend him. I’m not trying to crucify Urban, but he could’ve showed more professionalism in this situation.

  30. I think Urban did a good job in this situation. I like his new swagger. I think the old Urban would have held back and tried to be cordial. The old Urban might have let this add to his stress. The refreshed Urban isn’t standing for any nonsense. He drew a line and made things real clear. Reporters nowadays rarely report the real news. Honestly had he wrote in a context of which Deonte made those comments, nobody would have thought twice about it. This reporter knew what he was doing.

  31. Good job, Robbie. You’re one of the few who witnessed this and got it right. I get a little tired of some media folk and organizations clipping and taking what they want to use to make their point. Watch the complete Rivals video, then go back and read Jeremy Fowler’s explanation and Mark Long’s Associated Press story. ESPN should do that, too, and also see how that jives with the piece they put together and distributed to Jim Rome, Around the Horn, PTI and Sports Center. Again, thanks for the real reporting here, Robbie.

  32. Fowley had a responsibility to clarify a quote that seemed to be a misstatement, not to just wonder about its possible meanings in print. Or, like most good journalists, he could have given the source a bit of help, as in replacing “a real quarterback” with “a (pure passer),” which obviously was the intent. If he felt the meaning was truly ambiguous, he should have made the phone calls.

    There was no mention of his efforts to clear up the matter before he posted his report. Or even a “could not be reached for comment.” Sloppy work, even for a blogger.

    But Fowley did not seek to capitalize on the quote, or else it would have been in the first paragraph.

    Meyer came off like a bully and a jerk. The matter should have been addressed in private. Now he’s probably swimming in stress again.

  33. Perhaps if I had lived once upon a time when reporters accurately “reported” facts and issues I would have incensed that coach threatened a reported for doing his job. But, given that in this day and age all reporters seem to do is fabricate, miss quote, take out of context and slant to gain their 15 minutes of fame and boost circulation — I’m really just sorry Meyer didn’t deck the guy. Fowler deserved more than the tongue lashing he got. He took a cheap shot at Thomson -cudos to coach for sticking up for Thomson.

  34. With a short news cycle, Fowler probably didn’t have time to get a clarification, might not have wanted it even if he could have gotten it.

    Did Urban handle the situation properly, maybe not.

    Bottom line, I’m proud his the coach of my football team. I wouldn’t want my kid to play for someone who’d throw him under the bus when some reporter misquotes him and fails to clarify the kid’s remarks

    Way to stand up for your team, Urban!!!

  35. When will Gainesville stop defending Meyer and start holding him accountable for his behavior and emotional outbursts? His image gets worse by the day and casts a long shadow on the young players under his care. Be a man, Urban, like you expect your players to be.

  36. I’m surprised the Orlando “Cynical” hasn’t been kicked out practices a long time ago. They seem to take pleasure in creating, whoops, I mean reporting, negative stories about the Gators. Urban drew his line in the sand and has done it in such a way that no one can mistake what he means about not messin’ with his players. It may seem harsh to some but I like a man who lets you know where he stands. Yeah, I really like Coach Meyer.

  37. I think Carolina Gator hit the nail on the head. We have “become a society obsessed with drama, controversy, and celebrity worship / destruction.” Reporters now a days are hell bent for any angle to beat out the competition. How many beat writers cover UF? Even spring football is draw more readers than most college football teams. Compared to lets say UGA? (Lets see, the Atlanta Journal, The Athens Banner, Augusta Chronicle?) So when a player comments about the thing that will change the most in UF’s game plan, and isn’t very accurate with his choice of words. Then we are off to the races.
    No I don’t think Urban did the right thing. He’s a passionate guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. That is why the Gator Nation and his players love him.
    My question is, why didn’t we read about this Thompson comment first on Gatorsports.com or in the Gainesville Sun. Dramatic as it is, the full quote by Thompson has news value.

  38. Interestingly, Fowler is a UF Jounalism grad. Sometimes, these young reporters like to try and make a name for themselves by getting the “big” scoop. Not such a good idea….especially when you are an Alum, Jeremy. Urban will back up his players that are doing the right thing by each other, their families and the program. If my kid is a 5 star recruit, I want him to play for Meyer. My guess is there are a lot of Moms and Dads out there right now watching that video thinking the same thing.

  39. All of you who think Meyer somehow staged this to help recruiting are as nutty as he is. Bottom line: the severity of the beating he took in Atlanta sent the man into a tailspin the likes we’ve never seen from a coach at this level. Makes you wonder how he’ll respond when Saban tags him twice in 2010 and 2011.

  40. TampaDave relax! The intent is there, with his comment about if it was his son. The point is made Urban was unprofessional. I don’t think he should be fired, reprimanded, or anything else, but it was disappointing nonetheless.

  41. These reporters that are now bashing Meyer they don’t give him enough credit. This was simply a statement to tell all his players I’m back and I got your back!!!
    How do you think these players are going to play now….120% for the coach!!!

  42. Fowler said on his blog that Thompson mis-spoke, but apparently Meyer didn’t read that. All Fowler did was quote Thompson, and accurately at that. That’s factual reporting, not “negative” reporting. Meyer looks like a loose cannon, not exactly setting a good model for his players.

  43. Mike Bianchi is the one getting a free ride here it was his blog or article that caught the national medias eye .Is Thompson dissing Tebow? This goes deeper that the one quote. Fowler has been digging for dirt on the florida program for some time. His article on the number of UF arrest is one example

  44. I’m just so taken by the obvious impact Tebow’s faith has had on Meyer: Patience, Love, a sense of trust and devotion to the almighty, it’s all there and so precious to see. This is a true man of God. And his wrath was perfectly in step with the likes of Vishnu, Allah, Baal and a hosts of gods that simply do not take shit.

  45. Since when did the “they” in “what they are saying” be about other reporters? On all of the articles written about this incident by other reporters, the comments afterward are nearly 100% against their stance of protecting their own. Unfortunately the Sentinel is the only paper in Orlando and we have to be fed the dribble by Fowler and Bianchi all the time, hence the reason the paper is in trouble, in bankruptcy and is declineing in readership and circulation every year. I guess they will stay around as long as their is fish to wrap and toilets available.

  46. Meyer is a master motivator and tactician. This incident with Fowler was completely planned and carried out to perfection, IMO. Meyer took the limelight off of Thompson and sent a message to the new players and recruits that he has their back, all in one fell swoop.

    GO GATORS!

  47. I read the original article that incensed Urban. The Sentinal did NOT make that big of a deal out of that article. As a matter of fact the article spelled it out that Thompson was referring to Tebow being a dual threat, where the new QB is not.

    Urban read much more into it than he needed to. Thompson was not upset over it. it was not like they took part of his quote and tried to make it look like he was insulting Tebow or anyone else. They used the full quote.

    If he does not want player quotes used, then do not let them talk to the media.

    Urban over reacted and he needs to stop being a pre-Madonna.

  48. TampaSteve…. Urban most certainly hinted at the fact that he wanted to fight the reporter! He said if that was my son you and I would be going at it right now.

    Well, that is a threat in my book. Yes he qualified it with “if that was my son”, bu he still threatened him.

    Myer is turning into quite the drama queen in my opinion. Announcing he is stepping down litterally 2 days before UF’s bowl game when the focus should be on the game, he could have announced it after the game?! Now this? Give me a break!

  49. I’m a Gator through and through but that doesn’t excuse the threat of physical violence that Meyer made towards Fowler. It’s clear that there is more to this story than just this incident and Meyer didn’t care much for Fowler before this story came out apparently. That said, Meyer is right to stand up for his players and the UF but the way he did it is inexcusible and unprofessional. I expect much more from the highly compensated head ball coach of my alma mater and you should too. He should apologize to everyone involved.

  50. When Zook did the same thing by threatening to kick some frat-boys tails for messing with his team, people called it crazy. Meyer does it and there are people with their noses so far up his butt, that they say it was ok.

  51. All I can say is thank you Urbie for re-inforcing the notion that you are a hyper sensitive drama queen who, can dish out arrogance in words and actions but in no way take any negative criticism Fowler struck a nerve with you about a player who basically told the truth about your hypothetical “son” and was quoted CORRECTLY. Keep`em coming Urbie

    You stay classy Gainesville

  52. I can’t believe that Meyer hasn’t publicly apologized for looking like a complete JACKASS. Whoever he was sticking up for is immaterial. The point is this, Meyer is the coach of one of the best programs in the country and he is treating a member of the press like a big fat JACKASS. I love him as a couch, but I had no idea that he was such a jerk.

    Apologize Coach.

  53. I’m so glad this happened. Meyer has finally shown that he is not God and that he does not walk on water. Meyer is an a—hole, always has been, always will be. He’ll never win another SEC title, mark my words

  54. It’s so funny how we hold people in the public eye to a double standard. People, including members of the media, have ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM blasting Meyer every chance they get, from the internet to national TV shows, really not just with this incident, but from the day he took over for Florida with that “fancy Spread offense that’ll never work in the SEC” all the way up to now.

    But it is so unacceptable and unprofessional for Meyer to blast a member of the “untouchable” media. Look, the guy is human. If it was one of us, if a guy took our spouse’s or mom’s quote and made such a big deal about it that it became national news, any of us would go off on the person, too.

    And really, it’s laughable that Meyer’s comments were considered “threatening!” Anyone who has REALLY been threatened before knows that the last thing Meyer was going to do was fight the guy. It’s a huge difference between being upset and being out of control about to fight someone. Even the guy Fowler wasn’t scared – he laughed it off himself.

    As Andreu pointed out, coaches go off on reporters all the time, and in much worse fashion than what Meyer did. When NFL coaches do it, it gets played on SportsCenter and no one thinks twice about it.

  55. Apparently the blog was originally more satiable and then edited down after the fact to take heat off Fowler. The Sporting Blog took his original story and used it to write a Deonte/ Terrell Owens comparison. I’ll include my source:

    http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/the_sporting_blog/entry/view/60612/it_turns_out_we_all_need_20_minutes_with_tim_tebow

    I credit Meyer, he took the issue off Deonte and put it on himself and it has allowed the Truth to come out. A private phone call would not have accomplished that.

  56. It’s one thing to protect your players, but to threaten someone and that you are going to remove their access, give me a break. Who does Meyer think he is? You people who support Meyer need to get your heads out of Urban Meyers ass.

  57. Please, Meyer is a self-important jerk. There were any number of professional and mature ways to handle this instead of making a he-man, chest-thumping, macho grandstand play that only served to feed his “legand” with UF fans (as well as feed his monstrous ego). And no, I’m not a fan of FSU or any SEC team’ simply someone who thinks Urban should get over himself. Thanks to the adoring UF sycophants, though that won’t ever need to happen.

  58. Are all of you crazy? Is this the type of behavior we want to glorify for our young men? That you can be a bully and act out childishly because of the way someone reported the actual words that you said? Do two wrongs make a right? Regardless of your feelings about Meyer defending his players, do you really think he went about it professionally and in an adult manner? Now I know why I would never live in Gainesville.