It’s not uncommon for public figures to have their private life scrutinized; intimate relationships, family life and medical conditions have all been examined under figurative microscopes by the press and the internet alike. Many more public figures have had scandals scrutinized, though. We all remember the infamous Ariana Grande donut-licking incident, Lil Nas X’s Satan shoes situation and when the internet unearthed Chrissy Teigen’s vitriolic tweets.
However, earlier this month, Jacksonville Jaguars coach and former Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer found himself in hot water.
On Oct. 2, a video of a man appearing to be Meyer at the Urban Chophouse went viral. He was video-recorded drinking and grinding with a woman who was not his wife. Later, he apologized publicly, confirming that it was him at Urban Chophouse. It sent the media into a frenzy.
Jaguars players claimed Meyer never had their respect to begin with, and NFL bigwigs reprimanded the coach for his behavior. The question of why this was so offending to the players and the larger internet community is vague, to say the least.
Maybe Meyer’s breach of trust with his wife put people off. Perhaps Meyer’s carefree nature did not sit well with people after a big loss to the Cincinnati Bengals the Thursday prior. Maybe players wished he’d been drafting up ideas to help them win the next game. The Jaguars had been on a losing streak and would not win their first game until Oct. 17. Partying in Columbus is not what he’s paid millions per year to do, after all.
Players on that fateful Saturday night were likely resting up for their next game.
No matter the reason, Meyer got off with a bit of heat from the media and NFL, and he has continued on with the season.
The woman’s story, however, is another matter. After the initial fallout, the woman’s mother approached USA Today Sports anonymously to speak out about their circumstances. She claimed her daughter could not go anywhere, and the scrutiny was “ruining her emotional status.”
What’s more is that New Horizon Media Group, the woman’s employer, claimed it would begin an internal investigation to determine what impact this would have on their brand.
This woman is not a celebrity. She’s a 20-something with her whole life ahead of her, likely newly graduated from college. The media and internet have descended upon this woman with such fierceness that it could potentially have real, tangible consequences for her livelihood and mental state. It’s absolutely sickening.
While Meyer got off with a few public apologies and some notable phone calls, this woman is bearing the brunt. Internet sleuths have been searching for her identity. Meyer agreed to a public life when he signed his contract, but she did not. She was merely caught in the crossfire. This whole situation smells of an invasion of privacy and misogyny. Why is it that she’s the one taking the fall when it was Meyer’s choice to party and breach trust?
We need to remember that the media and the public in general tend to treat women unfairly in these kinds of situations. We need to remember that a woman should not be held accountable for a man’s poor decisions. Most of all, we need to leave this poor woman alone.
Colleen McLafferty is a sophomore studying history at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Colleen by tweeting her at @colleenbealem.