A day after his controversial hire, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars said Friday that director of sports performance Chris Doyle has resigned from his position.
“Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation and we have accepted.” Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement. “Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.”
The former Iowa strength and conditioning coach’s resignation follows backlash stemming from his tenure at the University of Iowa.
Doyle, who was on the Iowa staff from 1999 to 2019, was placed on administrative leave by the school in June after several former Iowa players accused him of racism. Shortly after, the university and Doyle agreed to part ways.
On Thursday, Meyer had defended the hiring of Doyle saying he vetted everyone on the staff. “I feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position,” Meyer said, noting that his relationship with Doyle went back nearly 20 years. “We did a very good job vetting that one.”
Meyer, who previously coached in the college ranks at the University of Utah, University of Florida, and most recently the Ohio State University, was hired as head coach by the Jaguars in January after the team fired Doug Marrone.
Meyer said he didn’t believe that the accusations of racism attributed to Doyle at Iowa would prevent Jacksonville from attracting free agents.
Shortly after being placed on administrative leave at Iowa in June, Doyle posted a statement on Twitter — which has since been deleted — saying the accusations about his behavior are “not true.”
Earlier Friday, the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes diversity in the NFL, released a statement blasting the Jaguars’ move.
“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,” executive director Rod Graves said. “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.”
Graves added that Meyer’s statement, about knowing Doyle for close to 20 years,”reflects the good ol’boy network that is precisely the reason there is such a disparity in employment opportunities for Black coaches.”