Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan issued a stern rebuke of coach Urban Meyer on Tuesday regarding viral social media posts of Meyer at a Columbus, Ohio, bar following the Jaguars' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
One video in particular showed a woman dancing close to Meyer's lap. Meyer, who is married, said Monday that he apologized to the team for "being a distraction," but it's clear from Khan's statement that an apology was necessary both up and down the ladder.
"I have addressed this matter with Urban," Khan said in a statement. "Specifics of our conversation will be held in confidence. What I will say is his conduct last weekend was inexcusable. I appreciate Urban's remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now, he must regain our trust and respect. That will require a personal commitment from Urban to everyone who supports, represents or plays for our team. I am confident he will deliver."
It's highly unusual for an NFL owner to voice that sort of public reprimand for his coach, and after an 0-4 start to the season, it's obvious that Meyer's status already is tenuous at best barely a month into his first year in the NFL.
Meyer spoke later Tuesday on his usual radio spot on 1010 XL/92.5 FM and said he needed to regain his players' trust and described his conversations with Khan.
"The fact that I became a distraction, I got to earn [the players'] trust back from it," Meyer said, via John Reid of the Florida Times Union. "I know we have incredible leaders, but this one is on me to go out and coach my very best, give them everything possible that I can do to help have success."
Meyer said "the conversations have been horrible" with Khan and underscored that he has to "move forward and regain the trust," mirroring the owner's statement from earlier in the day.
Whatever one thinks of Meyer's action, or inaction, that was posted to social media, the optics of skipping the team flight home from a crushing loss to the Bengals to supposedly spend time with family aren't good, either. While the game was played on a Thursday night and was presumably followed by some time off or at least a light Friday schedule, it makes one wonder how Meyer would feel about a player skipping a team flight for some family time.
It all amounts, at the very least, to the latest extension of Meyer's pattern lack of self-awareness that dates back to his college days.
In less than a calendar year on the Jacksonville job, he also hired a strength coach in Chris Doyle who had been accused of racist behavior during his years at the University of Iowa, only to see Doyle resign days later amid the criticism. He's earned fines for violating rules that limit contact in OTAs, drawn an NFLPA investigation after indicating that vaccination status impacted roster decisions, and briefly carried former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who played for him at Florida, as a tight end in the preseason. The move was widely panned as a publicity stunt, and Tebow was released among the club's first cuts.
Amid the aforementioned distraction, the Jaguars will prepare to face the Titans on Sunday and the coach said getting them ready will be an aspect reliant on the team's leaders.
"I don't believe that's in my court," Meyer said, via The Associated Press' Mark Long. "The leaders on the team are going to make that decision. It depends on how much trust you have built up with them, how we structure everything this week and focus on winning that game."