Former Ohio State University football head coach Urban Meyer has admitted that a photo of Trayvon Martin was used to illustrate a "no hoodie" policy after initially denying the claim.
"I didn't know about it until one hour ago," Meyer told The Columbus Dispatch in a story released Wednesday (January 5). "I wasn't there [in the meeting]. None of the coaches were present. It was a support staffer who was in error and apologized."
The shocking allegations first surfaced Saturday (January 1) by Ohio State senior Marcus Williamson who tweeted about the 2017 incident in an explosive thread on the college football industry.
"My first team meeting. (True story 2017) This photo was presented to us via PowerPoint to institute our building wide rule of 'no hoods' in the building," Williamson wrote, captioning a photo of Martin who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in 2012 while wearing a hoodie.
Former OSU safety Tyvis Powell cosigned Williamson's claims in a tweet on Monday (January 3).
"Afterwards it was pointed out how offensive it was to everybody & the person in charge issued an apology & they accepted it," Powell wrote.
"The players I've talked to said the person in charge was truly uneducated on that situation & really didn't have any idea the story behind the image. So Marcus isn't telling a lie about that. It was something that was handled in private. I still stand on my racial stance of OSU," Powell tweeted, referencing other tweets where he said that he didn't necessarily experience racism while playing at OSU.
Meyer initially very vehemently denied the claim before recanting and admitting the photo of Martin was used. The no hoodie policy, the former coach explained, also included a ban on sunglasses and hats during team meetings to ensure that players weren't asleep.
Meyer was head coach at OSU from 2012- 2018 before retiring due to health reasons. Last month, Meyer was fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars after one season with the team.
Meyer told The Dispatch that his biggest concern was not being made out to be a racist.
"My biggest thing is you use that 'R' word (racist) and it doesn't matter whether it's true or not, people run with it," Meyer said.