Urban Meyer admits Trayvon Martin photo used at OSU to enforce ‘no hoodie’ policy

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in 2012

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Urban Meyer, ex-Buckeyes head coach, has walked back his initial denial to a claim made by former Ohio State defensive back Marcus Williamson that he used a photo of Trayvon Martin to enforce a “no hoodie” policy with players.  

“We did not, and never would show a picture of Trayvon Martin,” Meyer recently said. “My gosh, no.”

Urban Meyer thegrio.com
(Credit: Getty Images)

Meyer confirmed to Ohio State reporter Jeff Snook on Jan. 2 that the team did indeed enforce a “no hoodies” policy during meetings, but denied using an image of Martin to convey the message to players. 

“Our team rule was no hats or hoodies or sunglasses of any kind but only in team meetings, just so we could see their eyes and make sure they were paying attention and not asleep,” Meyer explained.

He continued: “That is absolutely false and you can check with any other player on my teams during that time to confirm what I am saying. Other players know what he is saying is false. I would never do that. He is crossing the line here. It seems people are just piling on now. But that never happened.”

Meyer, who was recently fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, backtracked his remarks on Wednesday.  After discussing the issue with ex-Buckeye safety Tyvis Powell — Meyer learned the photo was indeed used, TMZ reports

“I didn’t know about it until one hour ago,” Meyer said, “until after talking to (Powell).”

Meyer told The Columbus Dispatch, “I wasn’t there (in the meeting). None of the coaches were present. It was a support staffer who was in error and apologized.”

Per TMZ, former players allegedly told Powell that the white OSU staffer who used the photo “was truly uneducated on that situation & really didn’t have any idea the story behind the image.”

Powell said the players told him “the person in charge issued an apology & they accept it.”

In 2012, Martin, a Black male, was 17-years-old when he was fatally shot while unarmed and wearing a hoodie in Sanford, Florida, by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman targeted and stalked Martin as he walked back home from a convenience store. He was acquitted under Florida’s self-defense law in July 2013. The case birthed the Black Lives Matter movement. Protestors wore hoodies in solidarity against racial profiling.

In a series of tweets posted on New Year’s Day, Williamson claimed Meyer used a photo of Martin in a PowerPoint presentation “to institute our building-wide rule of ‘no hoods’ in the building.” 

Meyer coached Williamson and the Buckeyes at Ohio State from 2012 to 2018. Three years later, Williamson retired from football. 

The Associated Press reported in 2020 that a section of road that leads to Dr. Michael K. Krop Senior High, the South Florida high school that Martin attended, was renamed in his honor to Trayvon Martin Avenue.

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