Jacksonville Jaguars director of sports performance Chris Doyle resigns amid backlash

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Chris Doyle, director of athletic performance for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the former University of Iowa strength coach who was accused of making racist comments and humiliating and intimidating players while he was there, resigned late Friday night, several hours after the organization faced criticism for hiring Fritz Pollard Alliance.

Jaguars coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke issued a statement saying the team had not thought through the implications of hiring Doyle, who signed a separation agreement with Iowa in June after allegations of several black players.

“Chris Doyle came to us tonight to tender his resignation and we accepted,” the statement said. “Chris did not want to be a distraction from what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program and in hindsight we should have given more thought to the impact his appointment may have had on all involved. We wish him well in his career.

The decision came just hours after Fritz Pollard Alliance executive director Rod Graves criticized Jaguar and Meyer for hiring Doyle.

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“At a time when the NFL is failing to address the problem of racist hiring practices, adding Chris Doyle to the ranks of NFL coaches is simply unacceptable,” Graves said in a statement. “Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflects a tenure marked by poor judgment and mistreatment of black players. His behavior should be as disqualifying to the NFL as it was to 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 there are so many job opportunities for black coaches.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance is an organization that promotes diversity in the NFL. It involves scouts, coaches and NFL front office personnel, as well as other sports professionals.

On Thursday, when the team announced the change as part of Meyer’s entire management team, Doyle’s hiring was immediately discussed.

Some of the allegations came from black players and involved the way Doyle treated them and used racist language. Meyer said Thursday that he has investigated Doyle, had intensive conversations with him and is confident that there will be no problems in the future.

“I went through all of our employees, and as I said, this relationship goes back 20 years, and there were a lot of tough questions, a lot of exams that all of our employees took,” Meyer said. We’ve done a good job with this review”.

“…I met with our staff and I’m going to be very transparent with all the actors and everyone else as well. I’m going to listen carefully and learn, and there has to be a certain level of confidence in their head coach that we’re going to give them the best of the best, and time will tell. … The allegations that have taken place, I will tell [the players] that I have looked into it. I’ve known the man for almost 20 years and I can assure them that nothing will happen to the Jaguars.

These are some of the points raised by many former Iowa State players who spoke out on social media last year: black and white players were held to different standards, black players were mistreated, Doyle and other aides made racist comments, and black players felt they had to conform to certain styles of dress and behavior. Their complaints prompted the university to hire a Kansas City law firm to conduct an external investigation into the soccer program.

The questions were not strictly race-based.

Former Iowa offensive lineman Jack Kallenberger tweeted last June that he had quit football in January 2019 after leaving in desperation for what he described as harassment due to his inability to learn. Doyle was one of the coaches he named who harassed him.

In response to these allegations, the university placed Mr. Doyle on administrative leave on June 6. A day later, Doyle defended himself in a statement on Twitter, saying, among other things, “I have never crossed the line of unethical behavior or racial prejudice. I don’t make racist comments and I don’t tolerate people who do.”

On June 14, it was announced that Mr. Doyle, who had been with the program since 1999, was in Iowa. Mr. Doyle, who was the highest-paid strength coach in the country with an annual budget of $800,000, was given a 15-month salary (about $1.1 million), and he and his family received stipends from Iowa for 15 months, or until he found work elsewhere, which he did this month with the Jaguars.

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