McNutt encouraged by Hawkeye players, Ferentz, after allegations

Updated: Jun. 9, 2020 at 12:14 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Marvin McNutt is the University of Iowa’s all-time leading receiver, playing on the football team between 2009 and 2011.

He was also a team captain. And, he also faced racial disparities.

“We all did, whether it was blatant or whether it was a systematic issue," McNutt said. "There was definitely racial disparity that needed to be talked about on a program level, and have the conversation. We are at the time now that players have the backing the rest of the country, so it’s a lot easier for us to come out and speak.”

McNutt bleeds black and gold and that is why he wants to see change. And, so far, he likes what he sees from his former head coach Kirk Ferentz, who called this a defining time in Hawkeye football.

“I appreciate everything that Coach Ferentz has done as a black athlete of his, as a team captain,” McNutt said. “I have never known Coach Frantz to run away from a conversation and he hasn’t just said one thing and went silent. He has continued to say the same things. ‘We will continue this conversation. I have to make decisions that are helpful for the future of all races in our program.’”

Ferentz also announced strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle had been put on administrative leave following claims of ‘racial disparities’ by former Hawkeye players.

“With as many players that are speaking out, and with what I’ve seen first hand, it is time for a change,” McNutt said. “I’m sure that was a really tough decision for coach Ferentz to have to make. But, with where we are at in today’s society, that can’t be OK.”

McNutt hopes change gives current black Hawkeye players a voice, and it has already started. Ferentz has already made some other changes, including lifting the team’s ban on Twitter for players.

“You know that freedom of speech," McNutt said. "When you have certain team rules that start taking away from those things. To have a voice that is being heard. And, in this day and age, that voice is so important for who you are as a person.”

Ferentz also announced the creation of a new advisory committee that will be chaired by a former Iowa player. It will also be comprised of current and former players, as well as departmental staff.

“We’ve always kind of stuck to the mode that once you get into a spot you can speak, then you speak," McNutt said. "It shouldn’t be that way. It should’ve been we always can speak and you all have a voice and every voice in here matters.”

In the past, Marvin feels black players were afraid to speak out because it might hurt their chances of playing at the next level.

“And not feel as though your path to the NFL or your path to your future will be deteriorated by what you say out loud,” McNutt said. “Now it’s as perfect time as any to have these types of conversations, and make things uncomfortable, so that things can change.”

In part 2 of a 3 part series set to air during the KCRG-TV9 News at 10 on Tuesday, Marvin talks about the protest damage to Kinnick stadium, and the moving protest he attended in Cedar Rapids, the town he now calls home, that brought him to tears.

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