Sports

Playing football at Iowa was a ‘living nightmare’

Playing football at Iowa was a 'living nightmare'

Longtime Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle may be gone, but the allegations of racism within the program continue.

Recent standout running back Akrum Wadley issued the latest round of accusations against Doyle, longtime coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff, citing instances in which Hawkeyes coaches bullied and threatened their players, while demonstrating bias against black athletes.

“I feel like playing for Iowa football was a living nightmare,” Wadley said in a statement. “I am done giving them power over me. But if I could do it all over again, I wish I never played for the Iowa Hawkeyes. I would not encourage any future athletes or parents to send your kid to go play for the Iowa Hawkeyes under that current coaching staff.

“My hope is my story and those of my teammates save others from the experiences, truths, and mistake of playing under and for a coaching staff at Iowa that did and said nothing to stop the bullying and racism from happening to us under Chris Doyle, [offensive coordinator] Brian Ferentz and Kirk Ferentz. What you see on TV isn’t what you get behind closed doors.”

In the past month, roughly 50 former Iowa players have made similar claims, leading the school to part ways with Doyle and hire a law firm to investigate.

In Wadley’s statement, released on Facebook via Pre-PostGame CEO Robert T. Green, the running back said Brian Ferentz jokingly asked him on multiple occasions if he was going to commit a robbery, while wearing a black, team-issued hat in cold weather. Wadley also said that the staff spoke of wanting one of their own players to be hurt in practice and that he was “targeted” for not putting on as much weight as the coaches wanted despite force-feeding himself drinks designed to put on pounds.

“I was threatened by Kirk Ferentz that my meal card would be taken away and I will not eat nor be able to sit with my teammates during eating sessions. He did follow through on his threat,” Wadley said of the coach entering his 22nd year at Iowa. “I went to use my meal card and it was declined….I had to call my mother from New Jersey at 10 or 11 pm at night because I was hungry to order Dominos Pizza for me. Or I would have to go to a fan’s house earlier at night to eat because there was no way I was going to be able to make it through the next day vomiting, being weak, and be able to make it through school and practice that day.”

Wadley, who most recently was cut by the now-defunct XFL’s Houston Roughnecks, said he began drinking to cope with the treatment from his coaches.

“I was angry, frustrated and numb all at the same time,” Wadley said.

Wadley played at Iowa from 2014 to 2017, producing 3,633 yards from scrimmage and 35 touchdowns.

About the author

Erin Clark

Erin Clark

Erin is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional football matches. She is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. She currently caters her skills for the sports and health section of Report Door.

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