Suspensions Won’t Last, but Right Move by Meyer
By Brandon Castel
COMMENTARY — The suspensions to Jake Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort likely won’t stick very long, but it was the absolute right move by Urban Meyer and his coaching staff.
Ohio State announced Monday that both players had been suspended from “all football team activities” until the resolution of their pending legal issues.
Photo by Jim Davidson
It seems harsh, considering the nature of their “crimes,” but anything less would have given life to the rumors Meyer does treat star players — or key starters — differently than the rest of his players.
This was a first offense — at least that we know of — for both Stoneburner and Mewhort, and one that will likely go away before their June 11 arraignment in Delaware County.
These two guys are, by most accounts, good guys who made one poor decision that has now landed them in the coach’s doghouse.
It’s not like these guys were driving drunk, or assaulting people on campus — the offenses that cost cornerback Dominic Clarke and tailback Jaamal Berry a chance to play for Meyer at Ohio State.
They also weren’t beating women. Had they not run from police, Stoneburner and Mewhort likely would have been hit with a citation — the equivalent of a parking ticket — for urinating outside a local establishment near Muirfield Village Country Club.
If the officer in pursuit didn’t break his thumb, maybe we never hear about this incident. Regardless, they should have known better, especially after last year.
Most men can sympathize with the outdoor urination, especially after a day at the Memorial Tournament, but leaders should be held to a higher standard.
Photo by Jim Davidson
These two young men represent more than themselves. They represent change. They represent a university that must hold itself to a higher standard than what we saw from this group a year ago, especially after the way Stoneburner’s classmates let Ohio State down in such dramatic fashion.
Stoneburner and Mewhort were two of Meyer’s trusted leaders on an offense that doesn’t have many of them to begin with. They are charged with leading this team, and that means making smarter decisions than to run and from the police.
Whether or not they knew it was a policeman who shined a light on them, these guys know better than to run and hide in the parking lot — or the woods, as was the case with Mewhort.
Meyer was big on accountability already before he ever took the job at Ohio State, but it has become magnified after what happened within this program a year ago. When Meyer took the job, he addressed that issue with this group of players.
“I saw the same thing you saw,” Meyer said of what happened to the Buckeyes last year.
“On a Friday, you didn't know who was playing. On a Wednesday, you didn't know who was playing. Some of the older guys made mistakes ... how can you lead a team if you're not playing?”
That is the question Meyer will have for Stoneburner and Mewhort, who are no longer allowed to participate in off-season conditioning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center until they are reinstated from their suspensions.
There may not be a game until Sept. 1, but this is something that effects more than just the two guys involved. Meyer already had an issue with the offensive linemen for showing up late to his first two meetings back in January.
He praised the group for their progress during the winter and spring, but was especially complimentary of Mewhort, who he singled out as the leader of the group up front.
Stoneburner is a guy who HAS to be a leader, if for no other reason than the fact he, Zach Boren and Jordan Hall are really the only seniors on the entire offense. This is a young group, and the coaches even had Stoneburner working with the receivers in the spring because they needed a veteran presence in the group.
After what happened last year, all eyes are on Ohio State. With the addition of Meyer, a rockstar coach in his own right, so is the national spotlight. It’s time for these guys to take accountability for their actions, no matter how insignificant the offense may be.
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