Last weekend, former Ohio State defensive back Marcus Williamson, who apparently retired from football before the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl game on Saturday, posted a lengthy Twitter thread recalling his experiences as a “young Black college athlete at the highest level.” Much of what Williamson had to say about the team was unflattering and had to do specifically with the exploitation of young Black athletes, an issue that has plagued college sports for some time now. And mentioned in the tweet-storm was former OSU football coach Urban Meyer, who left the team after the 2018 Rose Bowl and was fired as Jacksonville Jaguars coach last month.
But there was one tweet from Williamson that stood out and sent Black Twitter into an easily understandable frenzy. Williamson revealed that in 2017, a team staffer used a photo of Trayvon Martin to illustrate a rule barring players from wearing hoodies in the football building.
According to TMZ, On Sunday, Meyer denied the photo was used to enforce the rule and said Williamson’s tweets were way out of line.
“My biggest thing is you use that R-word (racism) and it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, people run with it,” he said.
Mind you, Meyer is the same coach who, during his short-lived tenure with the Jaguars, hired and defended the hiring of former University of Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle o be the Jaguars’ director of sports performance despite the fact that dozens of Black college football players had accused Doyle of racism and abuse in the past. Meyers bosted that he and Doyle, who ended up resigning over the allegations, had a relationship that “goes back close to 20 years,” and that he “did a very good job vetting that one.”
It’s almost as if old white men aren’t the best people to judge whether or not something racist happened or not.
After all, we haven’t even gotten to the question of why players were prohibited from wearing hoodies in the first place, but we know the stigma of Black men in hoodies because it was often used to justify George Zimmerman‘s suspicion of Trayvon that prompted him to stalk, harass and ultimately shoot the teen dead in the first place.
“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 claimed.
The Dispatch also reached out to Powell who said the staffer who used Trayvon’s photo “was truly uneducated on that situation & really didn’t have any idea the story behind the image.”
First of all, are we to believe that despite Trayvon’s death and Zimmerman’s eventual arrest being all over the national news just a few years prior to the incident, this staffer had no idea about any of it? And even if that is the case—so he felt the need to use a random photo of a Black teen in a hoodie to tell mostly Black players they weren’t allowed to wear one, why?
Just saying, perhaps Williamson’s tweets weren’t so out of line after all.