The Jacksonville Jaguars and embattled strength coach Chris Doyle split on Friday night, hours after a respected diversity group blew up the team and described the latest hire as “simply unacceptable.”
Coach Urban Meyer said Doyle has resigned and accepted.
“Chris didn’t want to distract what we’re building in Jacksonville,” Meyer said in a statement. “We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in hindsight, should have given more consideration to how his appointment might have affected everyone involved. We wish him all the best for his career. “
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, whose mission is to increase diversity in the NFL, has torn the Jacksonville leadership, Meyer in particular, saying that racist allegations in Iowa should have disqualified Doyle as a coaching candidate.
“At a time when the NFL has not resolved its problem with racist hiring practices, it is simply unacceptable to include Chris Doyle in the ranks of NFL coaches,” Allianz said in a statement Friday. “Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure marked by poor judgment and abuse of black players. His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it is for the University of Iowa.
“Urban Meyer’s statement,” I’ve known Chris for almost 20 years, “reflects the good old boys’ network, which is exactly why the job opportunities for black coaches are so varied.”
Meyer defended Doyle’s hiring on Thursday, saying he had “thoroughly reviewed him” with our general manager and owner.
Iowa agreed to pay Doyle $ 1.1 million in a resignation agreement last June after more than a dozen former players said he had bullied and discriminated against them. Doyle denied the allegations. An investigation by an outside law firm later found that the program rules “perpetuate racial and cultural prejudice and diminish the value of cultural diversity” and allowed coaches to disparage players without consequence.
An attorney for 13 black ex-Iowa soccer players has filed a lawsuit alleging that his clients were racially discriminated against under longtime coach Kirk Ferentz. Doyle is among the defendants.
Meyer officially hired Doyle as Jacksonville’s Director of Sports Performance – part of his 30-strong staff – and said he would support the strength and conditioning and sports training programs. Doyle was Iowa’s Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for more than two decades (1999-2019).
“I feel great about the hiring, his expertise in this position,” said Meyer. “I review all employees, and like I said, the relationship goes back almost 20 years and there were a lot of tough questions asked and a lot of people reviewed. We checked that very well. “
Meyer added that owner Shad Khan was involved in all of the “high-end settings” including Doyle.
“I have known the person for almost 20 years and can assure them that there will be no problems whatsoever at the Jaguar facility,” said Meyer.
The hiring of Doyle brought back memories of Meyer, who for years protected assistant coach Zach Smith in the state of Ohio. The Buckeyes banned Meyer for three games shortly before the 2018 season for mistreating Smith’s wrongdoing, which included allegations of domestic violence, a drug problem and poor job performance.
An investigation found “a pattern of worrying behavior by Zach Smith: promiscuous and embarrassing sexual behavior, substance abuse, truancy, dishonesty, financial irresponsibility, a possible violation of the NCAA and a lengthy police investigation into allegations of domestic violence and cybercrime.” published after summarizing research results of the university.
Meyer knew about at least some of the problems and did little, if any, before finally firing Smith after his wife asked a judge for a protection order.
Khan, the only minority NFL owner to be a victim of racism, has an impeccable track record when it comes to gender and racial diversity. Standing arm in arm with his players in London after President Donald Trump tore up the national anthem protesters, he wrote a comment urging change following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
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