Iowa Hawkeyes football coach Kirk Ferentz isn’t the most popular guy at the moment. And if your nosey ass is wondering why, it might have something to do with the fact that the dude is a whole ass racist—allegedly.
The Washington Post has the scoop:
Eight Black former football players at the University of Iowa are demanding for $20 million in compensation and for Coach Kirk Ferentz and other athletics officials to be fired, alleging that they were the victims of racial discrimination while playing at the school.
Oh boy. Where do we start?
The former players, who include Hawkeyes’ career receptions leader Kevonte Martin-Manley (who last played for the school in 2014) and Akrum Wadley, who ranks second in school history for career touchdowns, delivered a 21-page letter to the school demanding that Athletic Director Gary Barta and assistant coach Brian Ferentz also be relieved of their duties immediately.
As for the $20 million, the players insist that they should be “rightfully compensated for their emotional, mental and bodily damages and that Iowa is appropriately held accountable for its unlawful, discriminatory conduct.”
They’re also demanding the following:
- The creation of a Black male senior administrator position in the athletic department
- Mandatory anti-racist training for staff
- Creation of a board of advisers that would include Black players and anti-racist professionals to oversee the football program
- Tuition waivers for any Black athlete who did not graduate with a degree during Kirk Ferentz’s 22-year tenure as coach
Oh, and they want the school to cover attorney’s fees as well.
Should the university fail to meet these demands, the letter promised that a lawsuit would be filed on Monday. In response to the letter, the school informed the Washington Post that it had “already taken steps” to meet some of the demands as outlined, though general counsel Carroll Reasoner stated that the school “respectfully declined” to cough up the $20 million or meet the players’ demands regarding school personnel.
Unfortunately, this isn’t Iowa’s first brush with accusations of this nature, as the football program got rid of strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle in June over allegations that he mistreated players based on race. Doyle had been with the school for 21 years.
An external review conducted by law firm Husch Blackwell uncovered a disturbing culture of discriminatory behavior within the football program that Ferentz had no choice but to directly address after its findings were made public.
“This review brings us face-to-face with allegations of uneven treatment, where our culture that mandated uniformity caused many Black players to feel they were unable to show up as their authentic selves,” Ferentz said at the time. “I want to apologize for the pain and frustration they felt at a time when I was trusted to help each of them become a better player, and a better person.”
Call it a hunch, but I think those former players will be following through on that lawsuit.