October 18, 2021 6:00am

Power Poll: Jacksonville's leaders waning in support of Jaguars' Urban Meyer

Jacksonville's coach sullies his reputation after Ohio bar incident

Photo of Drew Dixon
By Drew Dixon
Jacksonville, FL Correspondent

October’s Power Poll focused on the impact of two videos that showed Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Myer dancing with and then touching the rear end of a young woman who is not his wife in a bar in Ohio.

The NFL universe erupted with condemnation of Meyer after the video surfaced and showed that Meyer did not return to Jacksonville after the Jaguars lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in a nationally broadcast game on Thursday, Sept. 30. Meyer lagged behind and it turned out he went to Columbus, Ohio, and was caught on camera in the compromising circumstance in the bar with the young woman who was dancing suggestively with the coach. Then Myer’s hand was shown groping the women’s back side.

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Shad Khan, owner of the Jaguars, chided Meyer and said the coach’s actions were “inexcusable.”

The Power Poll of Jacksonville’s power elite shows Meyer struggling to get support from the home city’s civic and business leaders. Responses varied widely to the Power Poll question of what power players thought of the incident as 42.9% said it was not the smartest thing to do, but it’s not the end of the world and they care most about coach’s ability to get the most out of players.

Another 28.6% of those surveyed said they wondered that Meyer was even an adult and said he should just resign and get it over with because no one can put any responsibility in his hands. Still, 25 % of respondents said Khan didn’t go far enough and he should have suspended Meyer. Finally, 3.6% of people who took the poll said they had no opinion or weren’t sure.

There was equal diversity in responses when it came to the question of what the biggest impact will be from Meyer’s conduct. Some 35.7% of respondents said the episode has hurt Meyer’s credibility from a fan’s point of view and it’s an embarrassment for the city of Jacksonville. But they’re willing to forgive if the Jaguars start winning games.

Another 28.6% said it was well known Meyer had ethical issues when he was a college coach at University of Florida and The Ohio State University. The Jaguars knew what they were getting and Meyer apologized so we’ll move on. Closely behind that response, 21.4% said they don’t see how the players can take the coach seriously and beyond the fans, Meyer has likely lost the team. And 3.6% said they had no opinion or weren’t sure.

Still more troubling for Meyer and the franchise, 10.7% of the respondents said Meyer should be fired and enough is enough, it’s time for a new coach.

In terms of the long-term prospects and the future for Meyer, he’s lost support of at least Jacksonville’s cultural and civic leaders. The future does not look good, according to those taking part in the poll as 71.4% said say he’ll make it to the end of this year’s NLF season, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s gone after that.

Another 10.7% said that after this episode, Meyer won’t make it as coach to the end of the year. Another 10.7%% said they don’t have an opinion or don’t know while 7.1% said Meyer is a proven winner and he’ll be here for years as this all will soon be seen as a blip.

This month’s Power Poll had the largest number of individuals taking part with 28 participants since Power Polls have been conducted in the city. Yet it had the lowest percentage of response rate as only 9.96% of the 282 surveys sent out via email answered the questions. That is the largest batch of surveys distributed to Jacksonville power players since the Jacksonville Power Poll started about a year ago.

Also, this Power Poll was one of only two that have taken place in Jacksonville that didn’t generate any individual comments and opinions from any of the participants. The poll was conducted in email between Monday Oct. 11 through Thursday Oct. 14.

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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