Former Hawkeye athletes request $20 million and Ferentz to be fired

Published: Oct. 18, 2020 at 5:39 PM CDT
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Iowa City, Iowa (KCRG) - Eight former University of Iowa athletes have requested 20 million dollars from the University of Iowa, athletic director Gary Barta, head coach Kirk Ferentz and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz. The players also requested football coach Kirk Ferentz be fired.

The athletes claim they were racially discriminated against by the administration and coaching staff.

This is detailed in a letter on October 5th sent to the University of Iowa by the athletes' representative Damario Solomon-Simmons.

The athletes include Akrum Wadley, Aaron Mends, Jonathan Parker, Marcel Joly, Maurice Fleming, Reggie Spearman, Kevonte Martin-Manley and Andre Harris.

The letter states that coaches made comments to the athletes such as “only a dumbass Black player would do it like that,” “this (n-word), this (n-word), this (n-word),” and “go back to the ghetto.”

The letter says, “Under the watchful eye of K. Ferentz, Iowa football coaching staff utilized racially discriminatory and punitive means to force African-American athletes into strict compliance with the Program’s racist philosophy that effectively stripped away from them every cultural aspect of being an African American. The daily grind of enduring negative treatment, comments, and threats made it virtually impossible for African-American athletes to focus on their education and, thus, African American athletes were denied the benefits of a high-quality education and subjected to continuous discrimination at Iowa based on their race. Numerous African-American football athletes fled Iowa and transferred to other institutions of higher learning where many ultimately graduated. However, if they remained at Iowa, they were unfairly demeaned, humiliated, and dehumanized.”

The document also makes reference to a June 5,2020 tweet by James Daniel.

Afterward, several players spoke up about their experience with the program.

The letter acknowledges Kirk Ferentz publicly admitted he had a “blind spot” when referring to the racial disparity and bullying in the Program, for which he has been responsible for over twenty years.

On June 15th, head strength and conditioning football coach Christopher Doyle reached a separation agreement with the football program after he was mentioned in the social media confessions.

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld released the following statement: “We appreciate some former athletes sharing insights on their experience while at the University of Iowa. Many of their concerns have been reviewed and addressed. And to be clear, any student-athlete that has left the university and did not obtain their degree is welcome to return and we are here to support them. There are several demands outlined in the letter and we are proud of the efforts made to date. We have a path forward that includes ideas and recommendations from many current and former students aimed at making the University of Iowa a more inclusive and better place to learn, grow, and compete as an athlete. However, the university rejects the demands for money and personnel changes.”

Head football coach Kirk Ferentz released the following 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. 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.”

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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