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Buckeye Brief: Urban Meyer addresses locker rooms, NFL, religion in off-field issues

Urban Meyer prepares to run out on to the field with the team prior to the Ohio State- Oklahoma game on Sep. 9. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Along with several topics pertaining to the on-field performance of Ohio State’s football team, head coach Urban Meyer also addressed several off-field topics and locker room issues that are important to his team during Monday’s press conference. Here are our takeaways.

Big Ten away locker rooms

Football teams know when traveling for away games that the accommodations in the locker room will not quite live up to the standards set by those at home. However, teams expect not only at least respectable locker rooms, but also believe they should be met with air conditioning and proper care when it comes to medical treatment.

During Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh’s press conference Monday, the outspoken coach said his team was met with poor facilities at Purdue and that the poor conditions tend to be more of a reflection on the rest of the conference rather than just the Boilermakers.

“We had to open the doors to get ventilation going in a small area and people are walking by watching you dress. The number of urinals or bathrooms for the players and staff, I think there was two,” Harbaugh said. “Injured players can’t get an X-ray. Taken to a student health care center in a van. We needed a brace for a player and there wasn’t one at the facility we were taken to. A lot of things need to be addressed.”

Harbaugh is not the only coach to express displeasure with away locker rooms in the conference. Meyer said he has had a “couple” of difficulties with the locker rooms in opposing stadiums and said that he has expressed his opinions to the commissioner, Jim Delaney.

“All due respect, this is the Big Ten Conference,” Meyer said. “I’ve shared it with our athletic director and the commissioner should handle that.”

Kneeling during the National Anthem in the NFL

Following tweets from President Donald Trump condemning the actions of players in the NFL who knelt during the national anthem, athletes from around the league demonstrated a large display of solidarity Sunday, kneeling during the anthem in large groups or remaining in the locker room.

As the players did this, debates raged between those who viewed the demonstration as players expressing their First Amendment rights to protest racial injustice in the United States and others who viewed it as a protest against the country as a whole and as disrespectful to military members.

Topics such as this have divided the nation, but Meyer said the mutual respect teammates show for one another has helped maintain decorum in Ohio State’s locker room.

“It’s the ‘r-word,’ the respect. Respect all,” Meyer said. “I personally have very strong beliefs and thoughts about things like that. And I share them with my friends and obviously very close with my family about our thoughts.”

Religion in sports

The “r-word” appeared again in Meyer’s vocabulary when the head coach was asked about religion. He talked about how important it is for the players in the locker room to all have mutual respect for everyone as many of the players have different views on religion as well.

Meyer said the players are all allowed to hold their own views on religion, and that in the Ohio State locker room, all views are not only welcome, but also encouraged given how important religion is in Meyer’s life.

“Our players, you look at their schedules, so we want everything to be user-friendly,” Meyer said, “Whether it be nutrition, whether it be real-life Wednesdays, those type of things, and also your spiritual life, so we have everything available to them. And I’m proud to say we have multi religious players, denominational people in our program.”

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