Iowa has suspended its strength coach, Chris Doyle, after numerous reports of African-American players were treated poorly because of their race. In announcing the suspension, head coach Kirk Ferentz called it a “defining moment” for Iowa’s football program, and that “[b]lack players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”
Doyle, the highest paid strength coach in college football, has taken to Twitter in his defense.
In a sign that Nebraska fans are truly starting to see Iowa as a rival (as if this wouldn’t seal Iowa’s rival status forever), some Husker fans took glee in twisting the knife about Iowa’s struggles with this story.
It’s understandable, of course. But, Husker Fan, you should know better.
First, and most important, there are some things that are more important than sports, than rivalries. With the aftermath of the national – even global – response to George Floyd’s death at the hands (and knee) of the Minneapolis Police Department, the subject of racial equality should not lowered to grist for the mill of a football rivalry.
There are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed, even in rivalries. Nebraska fans old enough to remember Tom Osborne’s time in the spotlight after his decisions about Lawrence Phillips should know that. And Nebraska fans have gone overboard, as well (Sal is dead, Go Big Red!) and Husker Fan doesn’t need another black eye like that.
In addition, we should keep in mind that this story is still developing. If you follow Rob Howe of HawkeyeNation, you can see that some of the stories being told implicate offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz – and even up to his father the head coach as well.
Husker Fan, you’ve got plenty of ammunition to feed the rivalry fire. The Iowa fanbase’s bizarre infatuation with Nebraska. The empty trophy cabinet. Hanging banners for Liberty Bowl wins and TaxSlayer Bowl appearances. Being satisfied with good instead of great. Ferentz’s massive bonuses for seven-win seasons.
Please, though, keep in perspective that this is about football in the midst of a global pandemic and a world-wide display of righteous anger against racial injustice. Just sit this one out, Husker Fan.