CEDAR RAPIDS — Another former University of Iowa football player released an official statement on the Pre-Post Game, LLC, Facebook page Wednesday, disparaging the program and specifically former strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle and head coach Kirk Ferentz for their treatment of Black players.
Maurice Fleming was a defensive back for the Hawkeyes from 2012-2015 who ended up transferring to West Virginia. He signed as a non-drafted free agent with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers but never played a regular-season game.
“During my tenure at The University of Iowa, the following incidents occurred,” Fleming wrote. “During freshmen year, I can recall having my dreadlocks wasn’t “the Iowa Way.” Coach Doyle would go out of his way to antagonize me for having dreadlocks, which made me feel very uncomfortable and unwelcome. During the recruiting stages, there wasn’t an issue with my hair, as far as I knew, and I felt accepted. It wasn’t until I signed my letter of intent, things started to unfold. Eventually I got tired of hearing the comments about my hair and sadly I had my dreadlocks removed. Strangely enough, Coach Doyle commented saying, ‘Reese if I had a daughter, I’d let you date her. Now it looks like you’re ready to play some football!’ I’m assuming he was now pleased with my appearance.”
Fleming then wrote about another incident involving Doyle.
“I had to confront Coach Doyle in the presence of my teammates and other strength coaches when he used the N-word,” Fleming wrote. “A teammate and I were next to each other while competing during sprint workouts. We were racing 10 yards, and my teammate grabbed my arm to slow me down, and I became agitated and (now interim head strength and conditioning coach) Coach Raimond (Braithwaite) confronted me saying ‘What are you mad at Fleming, you clearly lost.’ I replied, ‘This N-word grabbed my arm.’ Coach Doyle’s response was ‘This N-word, this N-word,’ mimicking with a smirk. After I heard that response, we exchanged words and a few of my teammates held me back and told me to relax and calm down because Coach Doyle was too powerful and would get me removed from the program.”
Fleming said he attempted to transfer three times before finally doing so, saying Ferentz chided him about wanting to leave and “not directing me to the people needed to facilitate my request.”
“On my final and first successful attempt to transfer, Coach Ferentz revealed who he truly is,” Fleming said. “During our final meeting, he expressed that ‘I need him in life, and I’ll never be anything without him, and that I was truly making a huge mistake.’
“After hearing those words, it further confirmed my reasoning for leaving and taking my goals to West Virginia University, where I had the opportunity to start and thrive. They gave me the opportunity to continue my football career. It is unfortunate that the color of my skin forced me to assimilate to the Iowa way, yet still it was not good enough for them. Over the years I’ve developed PTSD from the incidents that took place under Coach Ferentz and Coach Doyle’s leadership.”
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Pre-Post Game, LLC is a sports consulting business that also released a lengthy statement from former Iowa star running back Akrum Wadley earlier this week in which Wadley said playing for Iowa “was a living nightmare.”
At least 54 former Iowa players have spoken out about a culture of racism and bullying in the program.
Doyle and Iowa reached a “separation agreement” in June that pays Doyle $1.1 million to resign and not sue.
Iowa has hired the Husch Blackwell law firm in Kansas City, Mo., to conduct a review of the football program and alleged racial inequality in it.
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