Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle disputes claims that he exhibited biased behavior

Longtime Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, in a statement Sunday, denied ever having “crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based upon race,” claiming, “There have been statements made about my behavior that are not true.”

Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz announced Saturday that Doyle had been placed on administrative leave, pending an independent review, after several former football players spoke out about negative experiences they, and other black players, had while at Iowa and under Doyle’s supervision.

“I have been asked to remain silent, but that is impossible for me to do. There have been statements made about my behavior that are not true,” Doyle’s statement read in part. “I do not claim to be perfect. I have made mistakes, learned lessons and like every American citizen, can do better. At no time have I ever crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based upon race. I do not make racists comments and I don’t tolerate people who do.

“I am confident that a complete review of the body of work over 21 years will speak for itself and I am trusting the process to respect the rights and experiences of all parties involved. There are countless men of character who are better fathers, husbands, activists, leaders and contributors to society due to their experience at Iowa Football. The record will show this.”

— Chris Doyle (@coach_Doyle) June 7, 2020

Some of the social media posts from former players included offensive lineman James Daniels, now with the Chicago Bears, who tweeted Friday night, “There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program. Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”

Former Iowa defensive back Emmanuel Rugamba, who transferred to Miami (Ohio), alleged two instances involving Doyle in which he mocked black athletes and, as a result, “made you walk around the football facility on eggshells … and caused anxiety that could be unbearable at times with your dreams and career on the line.”

Former Hawkeyes linebacker Terrance Pryor said black athletes had to deal with “many racist incidents” during his time there, including an incident with Doyle in which he alleges the strength coach told him, “Maybe you should take up rowing or something you know? Oh wait, Black people don’t like boats in water, do they?”

In his statement, Doyle wrote that he was proud of these players for voicing their experiences, noting, “I can only imagine how much courage it took for them to speak out on these serious matters.”

“My job has been to give feedback to our players for 21 years and now I am receiving feedback myself,” Doyle said. “I can take it and I won’t hide from it. It saddens me to hear the stories of their difficult experiences while in our program, in addition to the outpouring of stories we are hearing across this country It is time to listen, learn and grow.”

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