The electrician who shocked the NFL with the Urban Meyer videos

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DJ Byrnes, a union electrician apprentice from Columbus, Ohio, had already handed a few drinks last Saturday when he checked his phone and saw someone sent him a doozy: a brief video of the Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer in a restaurant with a young woman dancing on her knees.

He quickly posted the video from a burner Twitter account – @uh_oh_urban – and it didn’t take long for the clip to ignite the internet. On Monday, Meyer issued mea culpas for his behavior. But Byrnes was not finished. Shortly after Meyer spoke to the media, another contact contacted another video.

“Were there two shooters in the club?” thought Byrnes.

This video, appearing to show Meyer touching women’s behinds, generated even more controversy after Byrnes posted it from his @freak_leader Twitter account. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan released a scathing statement on Tuesday deeming the conduct unacceptable and implying that Meyer had lost the team’s trust and respect.

And the most curious about this scandal that shook one of the biggest celebrities in coaching, it is the detective who unearthed it.

Byrnes, 34, wore multiple hats. He’s been in trouble before for allegedly trying to steal from drug dealers in Montana. He attended Ohio State, although he never graduated, and remains attached to the football team. He ran for the Ohio State House of Representatives and lost, getting just 24.5% of the vote. He is currently writing a newsletter, Rooster, which mainly focuses on local politics.

“It’s very, very niche,” Byrnes says. “Who can appoint the legislator of their state? “

Byrnes also spent years writing for a popular Ohio State fan website called onzewarriors.com. It was there that he wrote and covered a football coach who led the Buckeyes to a national championship. His name was Urban Meyer.

He spent years covering Meyer and writing about the state of Ohio, but a few years ago he got bored. He was not a Meyer fan, especially after the scandal involving alleged domestic violence by his former wide receiver coach; or school to find out how she dealt with the problem. He felt the only accepted way for someone like him to cover the team was the equivalent of a PR job – and he didn’t want to do that.

“I have a reputation for being someone who enjoys serving the rich, potent cocktails of shit,” he says.

After that, he started the Rooster, did his political race without success and decided to become an electrician. But he still had an audience and contacts from his days in the Ohio State Universe. This was helpful last weekend.

Byrnes heard “rumblings” about Meyer’s party, at the eponymous Urban Chophouse in Columbus on the Friday it happened. On Saturday he received the first video. Soon it was a firestorm that raised even more questions: what exactly was going on? Why did Meyer make the highly unusual decision not to return to Florida with the Jaguars after their Thursday night game in Cincinnati?

Meyer on Monday said he stayed to see his grandchildren. (Shelley Meyer, his wife, also tweeted a photo of her babysitting while including “#BuddyDeservedANightOut.”) Meyer said he apologized to the team and added that it was ” stupid”.

“There was a big group next to our restaurant and they wanted me to come and take pictures and I did,” Meyer said. “They were trying to pull me onto the dance floor, fuck it up, and I should have left.”

Urban Meyer welcomes Ohio State fans ahead of the 2019 Fiesta Bowl.


Photo:

joe camporeale / Reuters

Almost immediately after Meyer made the remarks late Monday morning, Byrnes sat down at a table in the break room at his job as an electrician. It was then that another source reached out to Twitter with a direct message and even juicier advice.

“Are you aware of the other video?” Said the message.

Soon he was in possession of a video from another video, removed from Snapchat. It showed that Meyer seemed to be touching the woman’s bottom. After Meyer tried to play down the incident, Byrnes was eager to detonate it. It quickly reinvigorated the scrutiny of that night and on a coach whose entire tenure in Jacksonville has been bumpy.

Meyer was in hot water with the owner of Jacksonville.

“His driving last weekend was inexcusable,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said on Tuesday. “I appreciate Urban’s remorse, which I believe is sincere. Now he must regain our trust and respect.

For Byrnes, this was particularly gratifying as some of his views had been criticized in the past. After leaving onzewarriors.com, the website named one of its tweets one of the “worst takes of 2018”.

The tweet: “I’m glad Urban is gone.”

Write to Andrew Beaton at [email protected]

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