Regardless of how hard they try, Ohio State simply can’t distance itself from Zach Smith.
According to a report from college football reporter Brett McMurphy, the father of Trevon Grimes claims that his son, a former Ohio State wide receiver, was the victim of a racial epithet lobbed at him by former OSU receivers coach Zach Smith. Specifically, LeBron Grimes claimed, Smith called his son a “bitch ass [N-word]” during a late September practice in 2017.
Grimes declined to answer questions about the allegations, telling McMurphy “I have no comment on that.” However, three of Grimes’ current Florida teammates — the receiver transferred from the Buckeyes in October of last year and landed with the Gators two months later — claimed that Smith directed the N-word at Grimes. Those players were not identified as they spoke to McMurphy on the condition of anonymity.
“I’ve never said [the N-word] in my entire life. I’ve never been in a fight with a player in my life. Never. That never happened,” Zach Smith stated.
“If my ex-husband is the person spreading these rumors, everyone should know that neither I nor TreVon have any contact with him whatsoever,” Leah Grimes, Trevon Grimes’ mother and LeBron Grimes’ ex-wife, said in a portion of a statement. “He knows nothing about my health and nothing about TreVon’s transfer to UF. He is an abuser and the worst kind of role model, and he is no longer in TreVon’s life.”
In McMurphy’s report, it’s also alleged that Urban Meyer had essentially covered up the incident and swept it under the rug. In very strongly-worded statements, both OSU president Michael Drake and athletic director Gene Smith refuted the report and said they stand behind their head football coach.
“The accusations made today by Brett McMurphy regarding our coach and the reasons for the transfer of Trevon Grimes are unequivocally false,” Smith said. “Urban Meyer embraces diversity and would absolutely never support an environment of racism. It simply isn’t tolerated here. And as an African-American, football player and collegiate administrator, I personally can say that our coaches, student-athletes and support staff know there is no place for any such behavior within our programs, at The Ohio State University or anywhere.”
Additionally, numerous current and former Buckeye football players — most of whom said nary a word when Smith’s domestic issues surfaced — took to Twitter to very vociferously dispute allegations made in the report that something racial occurred between Smith and Grimes.
The tweet from Martell, incidentally, was retweeted by Trevon Grimes, who, through a UF spokesperson, told McMurphy for his story to “not believe anything [LeBron Grimes] tells you” as he has not seen or talked to his father in more than two years.