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Urban Meyer apologizes again after backlash over initial statement

Urban Meyer: "I sincerely apologize"

Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer issued an apology Friday to Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of former assistant coach Zach Smith. Meyer had been accused of mishandling domestic abuse allegations against Zach Smith, and was later criticized on Wednesday for a statement he made at a press conference.

"My words and demeanor on Wednesday did not show how seriously I take relationship violence," Meyer said Friday. "Let me say here and now what I should have said on Wednesday: I sincerely apologize to Courtney Smith and her children for what they have gone through."

Courtney Smith accused Zach Smith of physical abuse. Zach Smith was fired last month after she asked a judge for a protective order.  

Ohio State's Urban Meyer facing backlash over handling of abuse claim

On Wednesday, Ohio State suspended Meyer for three games for mishandling complaints against Zach Smith. The move came after an investigation. 

When asked at a press conference that day if he had a message for Courtney Smith, Meyer said, "Well, I have a message for everyone involved in this: I'm sorry that we're in this situation." 

Meyer, who is one of the most decorated coaches in college football, and Ohio State, were criticized for their response

Ohio State's investigation found Meyer "failed to act appropriately regarding alleged abuse by Zach Smith of his former wife and related allegations that he misrepresented his knowledge of the alleged events at the Big Ten Media Days."   

At Big Ten Media Days in July, Meyer had said at an appearance that he was not aware of the situation until recently.

"I got a text last night that something happened in 2015, and there was nothing," Meyer told reporters at the Big Ten Media Days, adding, "I don't know who creates a story like that."

But in an interview with the sports news site Stadium earlier this month, Courtney Smith said she told Meyer's wife Shelley that she was being abused in 2015. Courtney Smith said her then-husband had assaulted her during an argument about their young children. Smith obtained a restraining order shortly after the incident but charges were never filed.

"Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban," Courtney Smith told Stadium. "I said, 'That's fine. You should tell Urban. We can't have somebody like this coaching young men.'"

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was also suspended from August 31 to September 16.