Update: This morning, the Jaguars released a statement indicating that they inadvertently left general manager Trent Baalke off of the statement released last night. It is now a joint statement from both Meyer and Baalke on Doyle’s resignation.
Just one day following the team’s announcement of its staff, the Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have reversed course on one of its most controversial hires in former Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, accepting his resignation.
“Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation and we have accepted. Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville,” Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer and GM Trent Baalke said in a statement today.
“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.
The news comes shortly after the Fritz Pollard Alliance blasted the Jaguars and Mayer for the hiring of Doyle, stating that “it is unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches,” adding that his “departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of Black players.”
The Fitz Pollard Alliance believes that Doyle’s conduct - accused of treating Black athletes poorly, particularly due to his use of racist language. Doyle was let go via a “separation agreement” just last year after the allegations were brought to light.
During the team’s introductory press conference for its coaches, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer spoke positively of Doyle, stating that the team, including general manager Trent Baalke and owner Shad Khan “vetted” Doyle thoroughly, having known the former strength and conditioning coach for “20 years.”
Meyer stated that Doyle was set to become the team’s director of sports performance, meaning he would be the person who each department, strength and conditioning, along with nutrition and other athletic practices, reported to.
Doyle’s hiring sparked immediate backlash via media outlets and fans nationwide, giving an idea regarding just how controversial the initial hire was.
Last year, the Jaguars were one of the beacons of the NFL for its challenge to racial and social justice, becoming the first NFL franchise to lead a peaceful protest march in the name of Black Lives Matter. A few players, and coaches, spoke at the event including former Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and impending free-agent wide receiver Chris Conley.
With the change of guard within the Jaguars’ coaching ranks, the hiring of Doyle appeared, at least briefly, to showcase an antithesis to what the organization stood for just last year.
His sudden resignation, and the acceptance of such, while undoubtedly due to the backlash, is a step back in the right direction of understanding what sort of changes must be made and adhered to.