Several former Iowa football players have spoken up about “racial disparities” and negative experiences they endured while with the program.

James Daniels, a former offensive lineman at Iowa and current member of the Chicago Bears, was the first former Hawkeye to speak up on the issue. He took to Twitter on Friday, saying “There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program. Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”

Initially, Daniels took to social media after head coach Kirk Ferentz said he wants his team to show uniformity when it comes to the national anthem this season, whether that means standing or taking a knee. Daniels said that would spark a cultural change in Iowa City.

“If the team collectively decides to kneel, this will bring about a cultural change for both Iowa football and the state of Iowa which I believe is long overdue,” Daniels wrote.

Daniels’ response on Friday night prompted other former players to speak up on the matter.

Former Iowa defensive Amani Hooker said “I remember whenever walking into the facility it would be difficult for black players to walk around the facility and be themselves. As if the way you grew up was the wrong way or wasn’t acceptable & that you would be judge by that and it would impact playing time.”

Another former defensive back, Jordan Lomax, said “I stand with my fellow Hawkeye Brothers advocating for a cultural shift in the Iowa Football Program. We were disproportionately represented as a result of black players leaving prematurely due to either double standards or the inability of the coach to relate,”

Ferentz released a statement on Friday night:

I am saddened to hear these comments from some of our former players.

While I wish they had reached out to us directly, I am thankful that these players decided to share their experiences now. As I said earlier this week, the best way to affect change is by listening. I have started reaching out to them on an individual basis to hear their stories first hand.

Making change that matters involves an open dialogue and possibly some tough conversations. I am glad to have the opportunity to do just that. As a staff and as leaders, we will listen and take to heart the messages we hear.

Here are examples of other former players speaking up on Friday night: