Iowa called a press conference on Friday afternoon to address some of the recent concerns that have surfaced in regards to the program’s culture. Head coach Kirk Ferentz and three Hawkeye football players were available for comments.
The presser came a week after former players made accusations of “racial disparities” within the program. With several examples of unfair or unacceptable behavior involved strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, Ferentz placed the staffer on administrative leave while the school conducted an independent investigation into the matter.
Friday, Ferentz, as well as Kaevon Merriweather, Ivory Kelly-Martin and Keith Duncan all met with the media to talk about the past week of events. They also discussed team meeting that were held on Monday and Tuesday and how the culture can change moving forward.
Below are some of the comments from Friday’s press conference:
- “We must be more inclusive and more aware.”
- “The coaching style by some was at times demeaning and created unnecessary anxiety and frustration.”
- “We have tremendous players and people in our program. I’m convinced we are trying to do the right thing.”
- “It’s my job to do a better job moving forward. The focus is on what we can do better to make it a better experience for our players.”
- “Anyone who leaves here with a bad experience or leaves without a degree is a failure on my part. …I feel like I let those players down by not creating that environment where they did feel comfortable.”
- “We had a heated and emotional meeting earlier this week. It was raw. It was powerful. It was productive.”
- “The bottom line is action. That’s our commitment, what’s best for our program and players. My concern is what we can do to fix things. Our players have earned our trust.”
- “There is a morale change within the program. I feel like we have a change of mindset as well as others in the world. My place is here as a leader and a player. I want to leave here with my degree and take the connections I have made with me.”
- “We are happy to be back with our teammates getting back to work. The hope is our hearts is that this program will change for the better and we look forward to showing everyone that.”
- “There was a feeling of you had to walk on eggshells. You couldn’t really be yourself and if you heard something, you couldn’t say it.”
- “I wouldn’t want any other coaches to be here right now. We cam here believing in Coach Ferentz, and we still do…There has never been a trust issue. It’s just been partially communication. I trust every coach in our building.”
- “I’ve been here for four years and I feel like this is the most connected we have ever been as a team and that speaks to our team. There is a change of energy.”
- “We are excited to push forward and see what we can do.”
- “We are together as one and we expect our fans to be with us every step of the way. Any movement we decide to make as a team, we want your support, backing us every step.”
- “From Monday up until this last workout, we’ve made steps.”