A man in a management position knows that the wife of one of his subordinates called the police on his subordinate for domestic assault but no charges were brought. The manager knows that his subordinate's wife has complained of abuse from her husband in the past. Then the subordinate and his wife divorce. Over the years the subordinate and his ex-wife continue to have a turbulent relationship, and on a couple of subsequent occasions the ex-wife calls the police on the subordinate.
The subordinate is good at what he does on the job and his personal life has never interfered with his work life.
Should the manager have fired his subordinate for assaulting his wife?
Is a boss responsible for the behavior of his workers when they're at home?
That's been under deliberation for the past week here in Columbus, Ohio, not only among the sizeable portion of the population known as Buckeye Nation, but among the Columbus community in general,
And yet Urban Meyer is being held responsible, if not for Zach Smith's private behavior, for what he, Meyer, did or didn't do about Smith's behavior.
But for Urban Meyer, taking action against his young wide receivers coach may well have posed a knottier problem than it would have had the case involved a different assistant coach.
Zach Smith has known Urban Meyer his whole life. When Urban Meyer was coach at Bowling Green Zach turned down scholarships at other colleges to be a walk-on player on Meyer's Bowling Green team. After Zach Smith graduated from college Urban Meyer took him on as a graduate-assistant coach at the University of Florida where Meyer was then coach.
And in 2009 when Zach Smith was arrested and charged with aggravated battery after, in a fit of rage, picking up his pregnant wife Courtney by her tee shirt and throwing her against the bedroom wall,
In 2011 when Urban Meyer was hired to coach at Ohio State he brought Zach Smith with him as his wide receivers coach, offering Smith the job in a touching moment at the wake of his grandmother, Earle Bruce's wife.
Now, when I started writing this post I was intending to wrap it up around this point with the idea that there is an underlying ideal in our society that we are all each other's keepers - hence this post's title - and, according to this ideal, if a person knows someone who is doing harm to another, the person has a moral obligation to stand up for the one who is being harmed.
But just now I clicked back to the internet to do a quick last-minute fact double-check, and apparently this story has within the past few minutes taken a sudden strange new turn: Both Zach Smith's mother and Courtney Smith's mother claim that Zach Smith never abused his wife, but that all the abuse allegations are part of a revenge plot 5 years in the planning by Courtney Smith to bring down her cheating husband and Urban Meyer with him.
Here's the link to one of several sports sites reporting this new twist to the story:
I believe I'll end this post here and, like everyone else in Columbus, just continue following the story as it plays out. It hasn't been pretty so far and promises to become less so.
I feel for Courtney Smith.