Urban Meyer defended his treatment of Aaron Hernandez while both were at UF. (Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel.)
Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi talks with FOX35 about Aaron Hernandez and the University of Florida.
Why did Ohio State coach Urban Meyer suddenly break his silence on Aaron Hernandez over the weekend and decide to defend himself?
Is he worried about how his ties to Hernandez might affect recruiting at Ohio State?
Is he worried that he may soon be questioned by law enforcement officials?
Is he worried about misinformation becoming instant reality in today's high-speed Internet world of Twitter and Facebook?
Gainesville Sun sports columnist Pat Dooley, one of the journalists to whom Meyer broke his silence, has another theory as to why Meyer would release this statement over the weekend: "Relating or blaming these serious charges to the University of Florida, myself or our staff is wrong and irresponsible. ... He (Hernandez) was an athlete at Florida 4-7 years ago and there are some comments being made that are not correct. Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide him."
Dooley thinks Meyer, who won two national titles at UF, is concerned about how he will be remembered by UF fans.
"I think it's more about his legacy," said Dooley, who spoke with Meyer over the weekend and wrote a story about it in the Gainesville Sun. "It's a damaged legacy already because of the way he left (UF), and he knows that. There are a lot of Gator fans who, even before all this (Hernandez scandal) happened, would not be happy if you mentioned the name Urban Meyer."
It is amazing how a coach who won two national championships at UF has become so unpopular among fans of UF. Dooley said he was at a Gator Club function recently where Meyer's picture was booed by fans in attendance.
"This (Hernandez scandal) comes up, and I think a lot of people are taking a sanctimonious approach, and I'm talking about Florida fans who were certainly celebrating those national championships," Dooley said. "Now they're taking the sanctimonious approach of 'Oh, he (Meyer) wasn't running a tight ship.' We all kind of knew at the time that there was some coddling going on, and it goes on at a lot of places."
Why do you think Meyer decided to break his silence on Hernandez?
To listen to our entire interview with Dooley and the details of his conversation with Meyer, click here.Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @BianchiWrites. And listen to my Open Mike radio show every Monday-Friday from 6-9 a.m. on 740 The Game.