Former Hawkeye football players share stories of ‘racial disparities’ within program; Kirk Ferentz responds

Kinnick Stadium is seen before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio,...
Kinnick Stadium is seen before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)(Charlie Neibergall | AP)
Updated: Jun. 5, 2020 at 10:59 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) – University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz responded Friday night to former players speaking out regarding alleged racist incidents involving staff members of the Hawkeye football program.

Former Hawkeye center – and current Chicago Bears offensive lineman – James Daniels posted to Twitter Friday saying, “There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program. Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”

Following Daniels tweet, other former Hawkeye players shared their experiences. Among those is Toren Young, a former Hawkeye running back, who said, “If you are a black player you quickly learn to conform to white culture (when in the building) at Iowa and if you don’t. You won’t make it very long”.

Several of the tweets single out Hawkeye football strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.

Doyle joined Iowa’s football program for Ferentz’s first year as head coach, in 1999. USA TODAY reported, last year, that Doyle’s $800,000 salary made him the nation’s highest-paid strength and conditioning coach in college football.

Coach Ferentz released a statement Friday night as incidents were shared by former players on social media.

“I am saddened to hear these comments from some of our former players,” Ferentz said in a statement. “While I wish they had reached out to us directly, I am thankful that these players decided to share their experiences now. As I said earlier this week, the best way to affect change is by listening. I have started reached out to them on an individual basis to hear their stories first hand.”

Ferentz added, “Making change that matters involves an open dialogue and possible some tough conversations. I am glad to have the opportunity to do just that. As a staff and as leaders, we will listen and take to heart the messages we hear.”

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