Three days before the Jaguars fired coach Urban Meyer, Meyer vowed to terminate the employment of unnamed sources who were saying bad things about him. During his final day on the job in Jacksonville, Meyer tried to use unnamed sources to say good things about him.
Appearing Monday on The Rich Eisen Show on Peacock, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times peeled back the curtain on the events of last Wednesday preceding the publication of his story with on-the-record quotes from former Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo regarding the allegation that Meyer kicked Lambo prior to an August 26 practice.
“They wanted to offer up a couple of players but only off the record . . . to corroborate not that he didn’t kick him, but to the degree of which he kicked him,” Stroud said.
Meyer’s eventual statement to Stroud cited witnesses who would back Meyer’s story, but Stroud ultimately decided not to speak to those persons unless they (like Lambo) would go on the record.
Stroud provides the right example for handling situations like this. When teams or players or coaches or whoever want a self-serving nugget to be published in response to someone who is on the record without also going on the record, the reporter’s best play is to politely decline. Although off-the-record reporting makes the reporting world go ’round, there’s a limit to using it. One of those limits should apply when someone makes a claim on the record, and the party on the other side of that claim wants to refute it without an on-the-record reply.
For Meyer, the situation oozes with irony and hypocrisy. He wanted no unnamed sources to say anything about him that he didn’t like, but he instantly embraced the opportunity to have unnamed sources say good things about him in response to Lambo putting his name to the claim that the head coach had kicked him.
And the information wouldn’t have been that Meyer didn’t kick Lambo. It would have been that Meyer didn’t kick Lambo as hard as Lambo said Meyer had kicked him. If that’s the hair that Meyer wants to split, it’s no surprise that he’s currently not preparing to coach his former team’s next game.