The Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer is defending the hiring of a controversial coach who’s been accused of racism and bullying by former players.
The NFL team announced Thursday (February 11) that they hired former University of Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle to be their director of sports performance.
Doyle, who was on the Hawkeye’s staff from 1999-2019, was placed on administrative leave by the school in June after several former players accused him of racism. Shortly afterward, the school and Doyle agreed to part ways.
Meyer, who was previously the head coach at fellow Big Ten school Ohio State, is defending the new hire, claiming he knows Doyle well and heavily vetted his decision.
"I feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position," Meyer said during his media availability on Thursday, according to CNN. "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."
He added: "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 he doesn't believe that the racism accusations will prevent Jacksonville from attracting free agents.
Shortly after being placed on administrative leave at Iowa, Doyle posted a since-deleted statement on Twitter saying the accusations about his behavior are "not true."
Sports and culture commentator Jemele Hill called out the hire by questioning Meyer’s own credibility, posting on Twitter: “Would love to know what his idea of “vetted” means. And this is the same guy who lied about whether he knew about his former OSU wide receivers coach’s domestic violence allegations. So why does Urban Meyer’s word mean anything?”
She also pointed out the challenge that Black coaches have breaking into the NFL, writing, “Also keep in mind that per @ByKimberleyA, the NFL has FOUR black head strength coaches. Imagine how black candidates who have been trying to move up feel seeing Urban Meyer hire someone who was paid over $1M by Iowa to go away after allegations of racism.”