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Meyer’s tirade out of line

March 27, 2010

Dana Summers, Orlando Sentinel

I’m not a fan of spring football. If for no other reason than the fact that no other sport has so much focus on it when the season remains six months away. That said, a recent story out of the Florida Gators’ spring camp caught my attention.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or simply don’t spend most of your time watching, listening and reading things about sports, let me tell you what happened. After Wednesday’s practice, Urban Meyer, head football coach at Florida, confronted Jeremy Fowler, a reporter from the Orlando Sentinel.

According to Meyer, the reporter was out of line for improperly quoting one of his players, wide receiver Deonte Thompson. The problem there is, that Fowler correctly quoted Thompson in comparing quarterbacks Tim Tebow and John Brantley as follows:

“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.”

Fowler even went one step further, suggesting Thompson may have meant “traditional,” rather than “real.” If Thompson had said traditional, this whole situation would never have occurred. Instead, the words “real quarterback,” in reference to Tim Tebow, sparked a huge controversy.

That controversy still would not have been nearly as significant if Meyer had kept his cool about it. After practice Wednesday, the following sequence was captured on video:

“If that was my son, we’d be going at it right now,” Meyer said. “Do it one more time and the Orlando Sentinel’s not welcome here ever again. Is that clear? It’s yes or no.”

“Urban, come on. Don’t make any threats,” Fowler said. “I’ll play by the rules, but all I was doing is quoting the guy. I don’t think I was the only one.”

Meyer’s last comment, though not quite on the level of “I’m a man, I’m 40,” was YouTube gold.

“You’re a bad guy, a bad guy,” he said.

Some have suggested the tirade could actually help Meyer in terms of recruiting because it shows he stands up for his players. While that may be the case, he sure didn’t do himself any favors when it comes to treatment by the media.

Here’s the video of the incident. What do you think?

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