Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle.

One of the most remarkable results of the protests over the killing of George Floyd in police custody is what’s happened with the Iowa Hawkeyes’ football team. As Scott Docheterman detailed at The Athletic Saturday, many black former Iowa players have been speaking out on Twitter this week about issues they had with the program, specifically with comments from long-time strength coach Chris Doyle that those players thought were racially biased. Doyle was placed on administrative leave Saturday pending an investigation, but he released his own statement Sunday challenging those claims, saying “There have been statements made about my behavior that are not true”:

What exactly are those claims from former Iowa players? Tom Fornelli has relayed some of them at CBS Sports, with many of those speaking to general issues in the program, but some statements (including from former DB Emmanuel Rugamba, former DT Jaleel Johnson, former DB Diaunte Morrow, and former DL Darian Cooper) specifically questioning Doyle’s behavior, with Morrow also calling out head coach Kirk Ferentz:

It’s notable that this isn’t the first time Doyle has come under fire. In particular, he led a 2011 workout that led to 13 players being hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis. It’s interesting to see Doyle’s statement here, as while part of it involves him saying that he’ll work on learning and improving, other parts of it are quite the pushback about the former players’ comments, especially with the “There have been statements made about my behavior that are not true” line. That seems to be specifically accusing some former players of lying, and that’s a bold stance to take at this point. By contrast, Ferentz has appeared more conciliatory:

We’ll see how this review turns out, and what that means for Doyle in the end. But it’s certainly interesting to see him challenging the comments out there about him.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.