In a shocking move that many didn’t see coming, the Jacksonville Jaguars has announced the hiring of Chris Doyle. If you’re trying to remember where you might have heard that name, Chris Doyle was the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Iowa. Doyle held that position until 2019 when he was accused of racism and bullying from various former Iowa players. In the summer of 2019, the university and Chris Doyle agreed to part ways in light of the accusations.
Fast forward two years later, new Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyers comes sweeping in like the white knight he is. The Jacksonville based team announced last Thursday the hiring of Doyle for the position of team’s sports performance director. Yes, the Jaguars gave him basically the same position for which he was fired (we all know what “parted ways” means.) How do the Jaguars respond to the hiring?
“I feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position,” Meyer said to media during Press Day on Thursday.
“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 of vetting that one”
The statement released by Urban Meyers just screams ignorance. I can only imagine the questions that were asked behind the closed doors of the Jaguars’ facility. It seems like nothing was discussed about his past college experience in connection with the accusations of racism, a major social cause in society today.
A lot of “hard questions” were asked? Like me, I’m sure this didn’t sit well with the NFL players who would have to work with Doyle come next season. While the Jags don’t think the hiring of Chris Doyle will ward off free agents, the organization and prospective NFL players never usually see eye to eye on racism.
Urban Meyers went on to say about the impending backlash, “I know the person for close to 20 years, and I can assure them there will be nothing of any sort in the Jaguars facility.
“… I met with our staff and I’m going to be very transparent with all the players like I am with everything. I’ll listen closely and learn and also there’s going to have to be some trust in their head coach that we’re going to give them the very best of the best, and time will tell. … The allegations that took place, I will say [to the players] I vetted him. 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.”
Doyle defended himself in a statement, now since deleted, posted to Twitter that read last year, in part: “At no time have I ever crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based upon race. I do not make racist comments and I don’t tolerate people who do.”
If we are to trust Urban Meyers and the Jags organization, we must do so with one eye open. In a time where our society is suffering and on the brink of social collapse, racism should not and never be treated without logic and compassion. In a professional sports league dominated by 58.9% of African Americans, this seems to be a change in the wrong direction. The world will be keeping their sights on the inner workings of the Jags this upcoming NFL season.
Update: As reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Chris Doyle has resigned from his position as Strength and Conditioning Coach.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 13, 2021