Why Did the Jacksonville Jaguars Hire Chris Doyle?

By Liam Wirsansky on February 12, 2021

With an off season full of good fortune for the Jacksonville Jaguars, in boasting the 1st overall pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft and making one of the biggest splashes in franchise history with the hire of HC Urban Meyer, everything was pointed in a positive direction heading towards highly touted and potential first overall pick QB Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson. Well that was until the Jaguars announced their full staff roster for the 2021 NFL season. Urban Meyer has been consistently relentless in his remarks about the about being committed to molding an elite staff, but made his first huge blunder of his NFL Head Coaching career in the hiring of ex-Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle as their director of sport performance.

For those unaware Chris Doyle was placed on administrative leave, pending an independent review by the Iowa Hawkeye Football program after several of his former players voiced negative experiences relating to racial discrimination. Terrance Pryor, one of his former players one the team said black teammates experienced “many racist incidents” while he was on the team, citing a specific incident involving Doyle in which he allegedly said, “Maybe you should take up rowing or something you know? Oh wait, Black people don’t like boats in water, do they?”. Truly a moment of significance for the Iowa Hawkeye program, the university agreed to a $1.1 million buyout in a story that grabbed the attention of national sports media and people everywhere across the United States.

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Meyer has come out and vehemently defended the hiring of Chris Doyle to his Jaguars’ team personnel, saying that he did his due diligence with research and spoke with Doyle, sure that there would be no issues with any previous concerns. “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,” Meyer said. “We did a very good job vetting that one.

While Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan has supposedly signed off on the hire, the move raises several red flags and begs the question if the Meyer or anyone in the front office have any idea of the unnecessary risk that comes with a coach that carries this much baggage. What’s more concerning is that Meyer’s claims to have worked with Doyle in the past in his time at Utah have been debunked. A clear sign that the team’s support in the fight for racial equality and justice over the summer and more broadly is conditional only to the point where it benefits them. The actions of the Jaguars organization speak louder and this is an ignorant way to alienate the players already on the team and those coming in, with free agency and the draft on the horizon.

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With players like pending free agent WR Chris Conley, who has been known to voice his support for racial and social justice, airing their concern on social media over the hire, the Jaguars have already gained a lot of public scrutiny for the move that could have been easily avoidable had they hired somebody else. The Fritz Pollard Alliance (FPA), an organization committed to increase and bring about diversity in the NFL through education, also publicly criticized the Jaguars organization and the NFL for the hiring of Chris Doyle. FPA Executive Director Rod Graves released a statement in regards to the hiring being disgraceful and an example of how challenging it is for minority coaches to succeed in the NFL.

“At a time when the NFL has failed to solve its problem with racial hiring practices, it is simply unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches,” Graves’ statement read. “Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of Black players. His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa.”

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The past behavior of Chris Doyle cannot be hidden by the Jaguars. His story is not one that the majority of the public will forgive and after the allegations made by multiple Iowa players it’ll be far from soon if ever that anyone forgets them. The Jaguars must face the consequence of this hire and the bad press that comes with it.

 

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