JACKSONVILLE, FL – Urban Meyer, coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, is defending the candidacy of Chris Doyle, a former strength coach at the University of Iowa, who has been accused of making racist remarks, humiliating players and intimidating them.

Meyer’s decision to appoint Doyle as the team’s athletic performance director came at a time when the Jaguars announced Thursday that they were assembling a 28-member coaching staff. Meyer also confirmed the hiring of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, defensive coordinator Joe Cullen and former Louisville, Texas and South Florida head coach Charlie Strong as assistant head coach/field defense coach.

But it was the hiring of Doyle, who was Iowa’s director of strength and conditioning from 1999 until June of this year, that drew the most attention. Over the past year, many former Iowa players have spoken out about the abuse they experienced at Iowa’s program. Some black players have stated that Doyle used racist language and treated them differently according to their race.

Meyer said he had researched Doyle, had intense conversations with him, and was certain there would be no problem.

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“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 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 I have to have faith in their head coach, who will 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 him for almost 20 years and I can assure them that nothing will happen to the Jaguars.

Meyer said he has known Doyle since he coached Utah and that Doyle was the number one coach, but Meyer was Utah’s head coach from 2003 to 2004 and Doyle was there one year in 1998 before moving to Iowa.

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 Doyle was in Iowa. Doyle, who was the highest paid strength coach in the state of Iowa ($800,000 a year), was paid 15 months (about $1.1 million), and he and his family received 15 months of benefits from Iowa, or until he found work elsewhere, which he did this month with the Jaguars.

Cornerback Greg Mabin is the only former Iowa State player to make the Jaguars’ team. He played for the Hawkeyes from 2014 to 2016 and responded to a June 5 tweet from former Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels, who said there were too many racial disparities in the Iowa program: “We appreciate the opportunities the Iowa program has given us, but I hope the coverage of these issues can lead to positive change.

Meyer said he does not think there will be a problem between the players and Doyle, and he is not concerned that Doyle’s presence will prevent the Jaguars from acquiring free agents next month.

“If it were me, I wouldn’t have hired him,” Meyer said. “Again, I’ll explain that if it becomes an issue. I’m confident that in a year or two we’ll have the best team in the National Football League.

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