Former Players Criticize Iowa Football’s Racial Disparities, Cultural Issues

IOWA CITY, IOWA- OCTOBER 1:  Offensive lineman James Daniels #78 of the Iowa Hawkeyes before the match-up against the Northwestern Wildcats on October 1, 2016 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.  (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Chicago Bears guard James Daniels, who played college football at Iowa from 2015 through 2017, said Friday there are “too many racial disparities” within the Hawkeyes’ football program.

James Daniels @jamsdans

There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program. Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.

Daniels’ comments come amid nationwide protests in support of racial equality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody May 25 and sparked other former Hawkeyes to support his stance.

“I remember whenever walking into the facility it would be difficult for black players to walk around the facility and be themselves,” Tennessee Titans safety Amani Hooker wrote. “As if the way you grew up was the wrong way or wasn’t acceptable and that you would be judged by that and it would impact playing time.”

Former Iowa cornerback Marcel Joly thanked Daniels for raising the topic and provided his own experience.

“I remember when I used to wear my tank tops in the facility, I used to get called in the coach’s office because I had too much tattoos and it wasn’t the ‘Iowa culture’ or the ‘Iowa Way,” he wrote.

Other alumni, including linebacker Terrance Pryor and Faith Ekakitie, raised concerns about Hawkeyes strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle:

Terrance Pryor @Tpryor51

@jamsdans Time for the truth: https://t.co/aBeVbtfvc4

Faith Ekakitie @Faith_Joseph

Coach Ferentz is one of the reasons I committed to Iowa as a high school senior. He cares, and he gets it.

However, for this program in particular, real change begins with @coach_Doyle and his Strength & Conditioning staff. https://t.co/MuSRAfABbq

Doyle has since been placed on administrative leave and faces a review, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz announced, per Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register.

Another player, who wished to remain anonymous, told Tyler Devine of HawkFanatic.com the racial culture at Iowa played a “big part” in his decision to transfer.

Hawkeye Football @HawkeyeFootball

This is a defining moment for the Iowa Hawkeye Football program: https://t.co/ckEH39QVki

Ferentz has led the program since December 1998.     

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