In the most common search of a new NFL head coach, partygoer is not one of the defining qualities a general manager looks for. Luckily for the Jaguars, Urban Meyer’s party-going abilities came naturally.
Following an 0-4 start ending with a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, first-year Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer ditched the team plane and decided to stay in Cincinnati to visit his grandchildren. While the rest of the team made the flight back to Jacksonville, Meyer found himself in a restaurant bar, which he owns, in Columbus, Ohio.
The following morning, a video taken by an electrician at the bar went viral on social media platforms across the country. The video featured Meyer intimately dancing with someone who wasn’t his wife at said Columbus restaurant bar. The video also showed Meyer touching the behind of the woman while she danced against him.
Jaguars fans quickly rose in uproar in response to the viral video, calling for Meyer’s resignation.
Even the Jaguars owner Shad Khan joined the fan uproar.
“I have addressed this matter with Urban … Specifics of our conversation will be held in confidence. What I will say is his conduct last weekend was inexcusable,” Khan said via a Facebook post made after the video went viral.
While Khan sided with the fans on the inexcusable nature of the situation, he did offer Meyer a second chance.
“I appreciate Urban’s remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now, he must regain our trust and respect. That will require a personal commitment from Urban to everyone who supports, represents or plays for our team. I am confident he will deliver,” Khan said.
The emergence of this video is arguably more harmful beyond Urban Meyer’s public image, creating a locker room that will have a tougher time following Meyer’s leadership. This new locker room dynamic will likely result in the Jaguars’ dismissal of Meyer if the team does not find increased success by the end of the 2021 regular season.
Meyer has owned his mistakes, admitting that what transpired that night following the team’s loss in Cincinnati was outright wrong and immoral.
“It was stupid. So I explained everything that happened. And owned it … I should not have put myself in that kind of position,” Meyer said via a press conference on Monday.
Meyer’s remorse for his actions is clear, but remorse only goes so far. The real test comes in the locker room and on the playing field as Meyer attempts to regain the trust of his players, something that was rumored to be lackluster to begin with.
Setting a tone within an organization is crucial for a first-year head coach, even more so in the NFL. Meyer is off to a rough start in this sense, and the emergence of this scandal may put the final nail in the coffin for Meyer’s time in Jacksonville.
This nail will have to be placed by the players, who now must choose between trusting a man devoid of accountability or pushing that man out Jacksonville’s back door.