Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer acknowledges that it is difficult to balance his stated attitude toward domestic violence and the graphic photos of alleged domestic abuse against Courtney Smith by her ex-husband, Zach Smith, a former Buckeyes assistant coach.
"I didn't see the photos until a week ago or three weeks ago," Meyer told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi in an interview that aired Monday. "If I had known there was domestic violence, I would have fired him."
Meyer spoke with Rinaldi on Saturday, the same day that his three-game suspension for how he handled the Zach Smith allegations ended.
Meyer also reiterated his stance on domestic violence in a statement released Monday.
Meyer told Rinaldi that he needed to know about the allegations against Zach Smith "and act appropriately."
"There were so many red flags now that I look back and even after the fact. The things I did know that came out, I should have acted differently," Meyer said. "But right at the time, deep in my heart, I thought I was doing the right thing."
The fact that he was suspended "devastated" Meyer, he said, and he called the punishment firm, harsh, tough and fair.
"I've had to once again play this thing over in my head a million times," Meyer said. "I did mismanage a troubled employee, and I went too far in trying to help someone that had work-related issues and too many red flags. So I take the suspension and move forward."
Meyer reiterated that he did not lie at Big Ten media days about his knowledge of a 2015 allegation against Zach Smith but noted that it probably played a role in the situation turning into a scandal.
"I think there's probably a perception that I did try to mislead people, that I tried to not be forthright about everything I knew about Zach Smith, Courtney Smith situation, which was not the case at all," Meyer said.
Meyer came under criticism for not directly apologizing to Courtney Smith during a news conference Aug. 22 announcing his suspension. He told Rinaldi it was a combination of exhaustion and uncertainty about his own future that led him to omit her in his apology.
"I apologize for that. I can't recall exactly why," he said. "Like I told you, my frame of mind was not in a good place.
"... But I made it clear the next day or next two days that I was very sorry, and I am telling you right now I'm very sorry."
Meyer said he has not spoken with Courtney Smith, in part because he was not allowed to. He said he will consider reaching out and how he would word that apology.
His message to Courtney Smith now: "I am sincerely sorry your children had to go through this. And had I known more, I would have acted differently."