The Jacksonville Jaguars’ strength coach has left the team after just one day with the side after accusations of racist behavior at his previous club.
Chris Doyle, 52, was hired by the Florida-based NFL team on Thursday.
On Friday he resigned amid an outcry over his appointment.
Coach Urban Meyer, 56, said Doyle – a long-time friend who he vouched for on Thursday – resigned, and he had accepted.
Chris Doyle was accused by players in Iowa of demeaning and belittling black athletes
New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said he accepted Doyle’s resignation
‘Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville,’ Meyer said in a statement.
‘We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved.
‘We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.’
Former Iowa safety Diauntae Morrow (pictured) alleged Doyle had told him he would send him ‘back to the ghetto.’ Morrow ultimately transferred to Toledo
Doyle was employed by The University of Iowa to work with their team, the Iowa Hawkeyes, from 1999 until his departure last year.
Doyle was accused by more than a dozen players of bullying and discrimination.
Former players said he mistreated and belittled African Americans, including a claim that he told a black player to ‘go back to the ghetto’ and threatened to put another ‘back on the streets.’
Other players said he joked about black people being afraid of water.
Doyle, who was college football’s highest-paid strength coach at $800,000 a year, denied the accusations but agreed not to take any legal action against the school in exchange for a $1.1 million severance package.
In a statement in June, Doyle denied accusations of racial bias as he left the Iowa side
An investigation by an outside law firm after his departure, however, found that the program he oversaw ‘perpetuated racial and culture biases and diminished the value of cultural diversity,’ and allowed coaches to demean players without consequence.
When Doyle was hired, the Fritz Pollard Alliance, whose mission is to increase diversity in the NFL, attacked Jacksonville’s leadership and said racist allegations at Iowa should have disqualified Doyle as a coaching candidate.
Meyer was singled out for particular criticism, having vouched personally for his friend.
‘At a time when the NFL has failed to solve its problem with racial hiring practices, it is simply unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches,’ the alliance said in a statement Friday.
‘Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of black players.
‘ His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa.
‘Urban Meyer´s statement – I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years – reflects the good ol’ boy network that is precisely the reason there is such a disparity in employment opportunities for black coaches.’
The appointment of Doyle immediately angered many in the sports world.
‘Can’t make a worst (sic) first impression within a locker room than hiring an accused racist, who was fired from his previous job,’ tweeted Daryl Ruiter of Cleveland radio station, WKRK.
‘Terrible hire by Urban Meyer.’
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Doyle’s hiring on Thursday, and his departure on Friday
Daryl Ruiter of Cleveland radio station WKRK strongly disagreed with Meyer’s choice of Doyle
The Jaguars boasted about their new strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle on Twitter
Former Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels (pictured), now with the Chicago Bears, was the first to raise the issue of the Iowa staff’s treatment of players
Meyer defended the hiring of Doyle on Thursday, saying he ‘vetted him thoroughly along with our general manager and owner.’
‘I feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position,’ Meyer said.
‘I vet everyone on our staff, and like I said, the relationship goes back close to 20 years and a lot of hard questions asked, a lot of vetting involved with all our staff. We did a very good job vetting that one.’
Meyer added that owner Shad Khan was involved with all of the ‘high-end hires,’ including Doyle.
‘I know the person for close to 20 years and I can assure them there will be nothing of any sort in the Jaguar facility,’ Meyer said.
Hiring Doyle rekindled memories of Meyer protecting assistant coach Zach Smith for years at Ohio State.
Zach Smith (pictured) was protected by Meyer but ultimately sentenced to 180 days in prison in February 2020
The Buckeyes suspended Meyer for three games shortly before the 2018 season for mishandling Smith´s misconduct that included domestic violence allegations, a drug problem and poor job performance.
An investigation turned up ‘a pattern of troubling behavior by Zach Smith: promiscuous and embarrassing sexual behavior, drug abuse, truancy, dishonesty, financial irresponsibility, a possible NCAA violation, and a lengthy police investigation into allegations of criminal domestic violence and cybercrimes,’ according to summary investigative findings released by the university.
Meyer knew about at least some of the issues and did little, if anything, before finally firing Smith after his wife asked a judge for a protective order.
As she told Stadium, Courtney said she was left bruised after being attacked by Zach Smith