NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Jacksonville Jaguars said on Friday Chris Doyle had resigned as their director of sports performance after the NFL franchise was criticized for hiring the former Iowa strength coach, who left the Hawkeyes amid allegations of racism and bullying.
Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer, hired by the team in January, said on Thursday Doyle would be part of his coaching staff but that decision prompted a backlash from some fans and NFL analysts.
Doyle, a long-time strength and conditioning coach at the University of Iowa, was placed on leave by the school last June after several former players said he contributed to a dysfunctional culture for Black players.
In a statement late on Friday, Meyer said the Jaguars failed to properly consider the impact of hiring Doyle.
"Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation and we have accepted," Meyers said. "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."
Doyle could not immediately be reached for comment.
He denied the claims in June, saying he never "crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based on race," according to media reports https://www.hawkcentral.com/story/sports/college/iowa/football/2020/06/07/chris-doyle-iowa-hawkeyes-releases-statement-allegations-racism/3171984001 citing a statement posted to his Twitter account. The statement no longer appears on his Twitter page.
Doyle's resignation came shortly after the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advocates for diversity in the NFL, condemned both the Jaguars and Meyer for hiring Doyle.
"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," said Rod Graves, the executive director of the Alliance, which counts coaches and other NFL personnel among its members.
"Doyle's departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of Black players," Graves said in a written statement.
"His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa."
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; additional reporting by Hardik Vyas; Editing by William Mallard/Peter Rutherford)