Former Iowa defensive back Diauntae Morrow on Monday detailed an alleged 2009 altercation with strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle that he thinks underscored a program environment in which he and other black players often felt "alienated."
Morrow, who played 19 games for Iowa in 2007 and 2008 before transferring, tweeted about the altercation with Doyle on Saturday, the same day Iowa placed the longtime strength coach on administrative leave pending an external review.
Since Friday, a large number of former Hawkeyes football players have spoken out about negative experiences they and other black players had while at Iowa and under Doyle's supervision.
Doyle is the nation's highest-paid football strength coach, earning $800,000 annually, and has overseen Iowa's strength program throughout coach Kirk Ferentz's 21-year tenure.
"We never felt welcome, most of us, anyway, whether they would openly say it or not openly say it," Morrow said of Iowa's black players. "We would congregate after practice and just talk about how we felt the program was being ran, and how we felt alienated."
Morrow told ESPN that the incident with Doyle happened during a team workout in January 2009. Morrow said he had been fighting a stomach virus and felt dizzy, so an athletic trainer told him he could ride a stationary bike.
According to Morrow, Doyle ordered him to return to the workout, saying, "You don't deserve to be on the bike."
Morrow got off the bike to speak with Doyle, who, according to Morrow, began a "verbal assault, mother-F'ing me down," and questioning Morrow's toughness.
"After a while, I start firing back. I definitely gave him an F-bomb, like, 'F you, who are you?'" Morrow said. "We're going back and forth. I never said anything racial but it was definitely a verbal altercation, we got face-to-face. That's when he said, 'F--- you, I'll send your ass back to Glenville.' He was insinuating that he'd send me back to where he would always joke about -- the hood, the ghetto. That's what he would always say."
Morrow said Doyle was referring to Glenville High School in Cleveland, Morrow's hometown and a football power. Morrow knew many Glenville players but attended St. Edward, an all-boys Catholic school in Lakewood, Ohio. He said Doyle often told him he wasn't tough enough to go to Glenville, and made other remarks about the school and another inner-city school, Ginn Academy.
"'What do you got to do to go to Ginn Academy? Not have any [prior arrests]?' That's verbatim what [Doyle] said," Morrow said. "He said, 'Ginn Academy, not any priors, because you guys went to Glenville, the school with the real criminals.'"
After the weight room altercation, Morrow said he met the following day with head coach Kirk Ferentz. Morrow said he detailed what happened, but Ferentz took Doyle's side.
"He was more focused on what I said to Coach Doyle, more so than what Coach Doyle said to me," Morrow said. "He went in on what I said. He ran down Chris Doyle's résumé, he's done this, he's done that. 'You haven't done anything here. Who are you to disrespect one of my coaches? To be quite frank with you, he deserves an apology.'
"I was kind of at a loss for words, like, it doesn't matter what [Doyle] said."
Morrow said he had a brief meeting with Doyle, then he left Iowa's football program and eventually transferred to Toledo, where he played two seasons.
Asked Sunday about Morrow's tweets regarding the 2009 incident with Doyle, Ferentz said, "I'm not saying it's true or not true, I don't remember Chris using that word. I've never heard Chris use that phraseology."
Morrow said Ferentz and the other on-field coaches weren't in the weight room during the workout.
"None of the coaches interfered with his domain," Morrow said of Doyle. "He ran that show."
"I cannot deny or confirm that Chris Doyle is racist, because I don't know him on a personal level," Morrow said. "I know my conversations with him. Outside of this big altercation, he's made more than one inappropriate comment."
Doyle on Sunday defended himself in a statement posted to Twitter, writing in part, "At no time have I ever crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based upon race. I do not make racists comments and I don't tolerate people who do. I am confident that a complete review of the body of work over 21 years will speak for itself and I am trusting the process to respect the rights and experiences of all parties involved."
Morrow said he's not calling for anyone's job but thinks changes are overdue in the program, especially with the way it's structured.
"Coach Doyle probably has more power than any position coach there," Morrow said. "If Coach Ferentz is the CEO, Coach Doyle is the COO. Coach Doyle is the longest-tenured coach with Coach Ferentz, so what does that say? You're working with the guy for that many years, you mean to tell me you don't know what type of person he is? I'm not calling for anybody's job, but you're not innocent, Kirk. Don't play the ignorance role."
Ferentz said Sunday he has spent several days reaching out to many black players who came through the program about their experiences and concerns. Morrow said he doesn't expect Ferentz to contact him about his experience, but is willing to speak to those looking into the former players' allegations about their time at Iowa.
"I've talked to a lot of my [Iowa] teammates," Morrow said. "I wasn't [speaking out] for attention or anything of that nature. I was just telling my truth alongside some of my Hawkeyes teammates who I can relate to. I know it was going on before me, because I would hear stories in the locker room, and it's obviously going on after me.
"The Iowa way wasn't really conducive to our culture at all, the African-American players. We always felt a certain way and we were, in most cases, treated a certain way or judged in a certain manner because of who we are and what we came from."