Former Iowa and NFL linebacker Edmond Miles, who suited up for the Hawkeyes from 2002-06, is jumping to the defense of head coach Kirk Ferentz after eight former Iowa players demanded $20 million and called for the head coach’s firing for “racial discrimination.”

News broke on Sunday by Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register that eight Black former Iowa football players — Akrum Wadley, Kevonte Martin-Manley, Maurice Fleming, Andre Harris, Marcel Joly, Aaron Mends, Jonathan Parker and Reggie Spearman — sent a 21-page certified letter to the University of Iowa listing their demands. In addition to the $20 million and Ferentz’s firing, there were requests to terminate offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz and athletic director Gary Barta.

Miles released a statement defending Ferentz via Facebook. It was shared by Rob Howe of Hawkeye Nation. Below is the statement:

This was from Leistikow’s report earlier in the week:

The group is represented by Tulsa civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons and has additional demands, including attorney’s fees; the creation of a permanent Black male senior administrator position in Iowa athletics; mandatory anti-racist training for athletics staff; the establishment of a board of advisers including Black players and anti-racist professionals to oversee the football program; and tuition waivers for any Black athlete who did not graduate with a degree during Kirk Ferentz’s 22-year tenure.

According to the letter, if the demands are not met to the former athletes’ satisfaction by Monday, Oct. 19, the athletes were prepared to pursue a lawsuit “to ensure they are rightfully compensated for their emotional, mental and bodily damages and that Iowa is appropriately held accountable for its unlawful, discriminatory conduct.”

Iowa responded to the requests, saying they will not agree to the demands made by the former players, which likely means a lawsuit will come next. Ferentz also released a statement.

“I am disappointed to receive this type of demand letter. Due to the threat of litigation, I am not able to address the specific comments made by our former players,” Ferentz said in a statement. “As you may know, this past summer we made adjustments to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our student-athletes. These changes include both policies and rules, as well as an expanded leadership council of current players and a new advisory committee comprised of former players.

“I am deeply committed to helping everyone who joins the Hawkeye Football program reach their full potential on and off the field. My focus is now on our current players who are preparing for our first game this Saturday.”