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Due Process & Rule of Law for Urban Meyer

Just a few hours ago a member of the media published a story about Ohio State's Urban Meyer alleging he had knowledge of domestic violence issues involving Ohio State’s now-former wide receiver coach. A former ESPN writer wrote a story on Facebook and now…..

Social media is abuzz with people in the outrage spiral descent where one after another weighs in to show just how much more outraged they are over some alleged wrong. People from other schools on social media are giddy with the excitement of “Urban being in trouble” and breathless in anticipation that he will be fired.

That is what losers do. Being unable to beat someone on the field they take excitement that some other means of derailing a rival will suffice.

I am a Penn Stater but I am an American first. As Penn Staters, we’ve seen the forces of innuendo, implication and allegation damage the lives and careers of good innocent people. 

We should demand something more in America. 

We should wait for facts. We should drive a stake in the ground to defend due process. We should shed our implicit bias against people we dislike being accused. We should have courage to stand against the virtual mob gathering for a virtual lynching before we know the facts.

And for those who need a refresher course: Published allegations do NOT automatically equal facts.

This is where we are as a nation. We have become a land of giddy gossipers hanging credibility onto every allegation ever lobbed at those we dislike. We give those allegations the presumption of truth. For the man or woman we oppose we demand absolute proof beyond all doubt that they are innocent of the things we want to assign to them.

At the end of the day we live in a world where allegations equal guilt, and as such we demand punishment or banishment before any allegation is proven.

That is not the basis of how this nation was founded. And regardless of how many games a coach wins, he or she too should remain a citizen equal under the eyes of the law. A coach should not become the arbiter of difficult legal issues and we should not demand that they do so.

There was a time when coaches coached and lawyers lawyered. Now we demand that coaches act above the law as judge and jury meting out punishments to players or staff regardless of actual proven guilt.

Anyone interested in justice and what is right should implore the Board at Ohio State to stand up to the mob mentality, to say that "when we have the facts of the case and only when we have the facts of the case will we react and make informed decisions."

It is easy for a member of the media to play armchair quarterback and express righteous indignation because a person in power did not respond in a particular way. It is easy to demand that Urban Meyer “be held accountable”……

No matter what is proven about these allegations against the former wide receiver coach at Ohio State, this much is beyond doubt: Urban Meyer did not commit a crime, he did not witness, nor did he cover up any crimes. He hasn't even been accused of one but yet there will be voices unjustly calling for his job.  

Some will say that we should demand more of coaches who are supposed to be role models. But while that is true, that standard should never equate a loss of one’s rights to due process, the loss of one’s job or reputation because of the acts of another.

Here’s hoping that patience rules the day in Columbus, that common sense and due process can stand up to the flood tide of manufactured outrage. If not we risk seeing yet another example of the rule of law being overtaken by our own worst impulses of vigilante justice. 

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