SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg discusses the latest from Ohio State, where Urban Meyer backtracked and Zach Smith broke his silence.
USA TODAY Sports
COLUMBUS, Ohio. — Stacy Elliott, father of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, wasn’t a scheduled speaker, but he fired up the crowd as much as anyone at Monday’s rally in support of coach Urban Meyer keeping his job.
After the 10-minute rally at North Rotunda outside Ohio Stadium was over, Elliott held court with the media and made a passionate defense of Meyer’s character.
“I love Urban Meyer,” Elliott said. “He is a man of integrity. I know this.”
Elliott said Meyer took his son when he was a young man and provided the “principles, morals, the standards to him becoming a man.”
Elliott said he was “devastated” by the news that Meyer had been placed on administrative leave while officials investigate how he handled the situation involving fired former assistant coach Zach Smith who was accused of domestic violence in 2015.
“I have been sick ever since I’ve heard about it,” Elliott said. He said he felt he had to attend the rally.
Elliott received a loud cheer from about 50 fans who were trying to listen to his interview with the media when he said he believed Meyer will be reinstated.
“I know Urban Meyer would never condone a woman being abused,” Elliott said. “So those who abuse women need to stop right now.”
MORE OHIO STATE:
Last season, however, Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games by the NFL after allegations of domestic violence leveled against him by an ex-girlfriend. Elliott was never charged. He appealed the suspension, and after a series of court rulings for injunctions against the suspension and reinstatement of the suspension, he finally dropped his appeal in November but a statement from his lawyers asserted the “decision is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing.”
Elliott said he believes Meyer followed the rules by reporting the situation involving Smith.
“When you are in the spotlight, there are a lot of people who come out of spotlight and accuse you of things you didn’t do,” Elliott said. “And I say that without giving anyone a free pass for abusing women.”
He said Meyer needs to “ride it out and figure out what’s right and what is wrong, but he followed the rules.”
“One last thing,” Elliot said. “Why is he being held so accountable and no one else?”
The Buckeye fans applauded loudly.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Kevin Allen on Twitter @ByKevinAllen.