A brief letter to Ohio State fans

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Dear Ohio State fans,

In the wake of the situation that has transpired on your campus over the last week, allow me to attempt to offer you some solace. What has allegedly happened within your coaching staff is not something to ignore, as, if allegations are confirmed, it is a serious offense. But that doesn’t mean you are to blame for this. In fact, your daily life should not be affected in the slightest other than the fact that a new man will likely be roaming the sidelines for your Buckeyes’ football program this season. what has allegedly transpired is not your fault, and you should not be treated as if it is. You, likely, at least, are not bad people. You almost assuredly do not support any particular type of domestic violence. I’d bet that you, yourself, are not abusive. So do not take things that will be said to you personally.

You will be confronted. You will be told that you support a football program that supports domestic abuse. You will be told off. All of these things will happen from fans of other schools, who claim that you, your football program and your university should burn for your transgressions.

How do I know all of this? I went through the same thing as a Penn Stater. I understand the backlash you will receive. People will tell you that your school placed football above the protection of a woman, just as I was told that my school did the same thing over the protection of children. And in that regard, the argument may hold some merit. But what will separate most, the angry, mob-like crowds, from the few sane, is where that argument stops. If it stops there, you may get off easy in a particular encounter. If it doesn’t, you personally will be attached to these allegations. You’ll be drug through the mud, along with the school that likely provided you with a great education, a chance to grow into the man or woman you are today, a chance to meet your best friends, your wife, your husband. That won’t matter to those who are in the wrong state of mind.

This isn’t your fault. It also isn’t the players fault. Personal vindication will come in the meekness you portray, in the words you do not speak, but instead, in the action to hold your tongue and walk away.

This isn’t the players fault. The team, as currently constructed, does not deserve sanctions because of the alleged actions of one man and the alleged inactions of another. Your players, and your program as whole, frankly, are not a part of this. Lose of scholarships, win reductions or vacations, the right to transfer without penalty of missing a season; all of these things impacted my school’s program for four long years. And without the courage of players like Michael Mauti and Mike Zordich, the program may have fallen apart entirely. I want to make this very clear: I wish NONE of that on your program. I don’t want to see your football program struggle to survive. Your players don’t deserve that. You don’t deserve that.

I say all of these things out of understanding and personal experience. Come football season, I want you to know two things. Firstly, I hope you feel free of guilt and enjoy your team’s season, regardless of whom is on the sideline. That makes no difference to your fandom and to who you are as a person, assuming you can differentiate the rights from the wrongs here. Remember, out of the ashes, a phoenix rises. Secondly, we’ll see you in Happy Valley on September 29.

Respectfully,

Tyler Zulli

 

Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

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