Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has finally announced his staff for the 2021 NFL season and one name stuck out to me.
Chris Doyle. Yes... that Chris Doyle.
The same Doyle who alienated former Black players at Iowa by allegedly threatening to “send them back to the ghetto.”
The same Doyle who sent 13 players to the hospital with rhabdomyolysis following team workouts.
The same Doyle who parted ways with the University of Iowa after a $1.1 million dollar buyout.
For team brass to say, “It takes all of us to end racism!” then so blatantly go the other way is a complete reversal on the message the league was seemingly trying to send and a slap in the face to the players in that locker room — players who led local protests against systems of oppression propped up by people who exhibit the same behavior that is alleged of Doyle.
By hiring Doyle, the Jaguars are effectively telling their players that doing all this performative stuff that pretends to end racism is enough. At the end of the day, when it’s time to do the actual work of ending racism, building your coaching staff is more important.
What culture is Urban Meyer trying to build? Why would Chris Doyle be in any part of that?
Veteran wide receiver Chris Conley shared his thoughts:
— Chris Conley (@FlightConley) February 11, 2021
To be fair man i don’t really care about any of y’all or what you think. But i do care about the guys in that locker room so. You can tweet if you want just giving ya context.— Chris Conley (@FlightConley) February 11, 2021
Meyer has been known to toe the line of controversy when it comes to his coaching history, but this is an unnecessary hire — especially in the NFL, where players have more power and can simply refuse to join this team. Doyle’s behavior won’t be tolerated in the NFL, because players won’t accept it, and it will hinder their ability to build a better roster.
Meyer said in his press conference today that he, general manager Trent Baalke, and owner Shad Khan all “vetted [Doyle] throughly” but I find that hard to believe. If they vetted Doyle as extensively as they did, then at what point did they decide that the allegations of racism were okay? When did they decide to brush under the rug the fact that 13 athletes were sent to the hospital?
The answer is simple — they don’t care. They knew who they wanted, and despite any allegations of racism from former players, the team made the hire anyway.
No matter how the Jaguars try to hide him away from the public, you can’t forgive racism nor the behavior Doyle is alleged to have displayed at Iowa. You can’t forgive the things that multiple Iowa players have said about Doyle.
And you darn sure can’t forget them.