Lawsuit: 13 former Hawkeye football players claim Kirk Ferentz allowed racist culture

Thirteen former Iowa football players, all of them Black, have filed a lawsuit claiming they were the victims of “targeted discriminatory behavior,” and that longtime coach Kirk Ferentz enabled it.

“Under the watchful eye of Kirk 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 every cultural aspect of being an African-American,” the suit claims.

Buy PhotoIowa football coach Kirk Ferentz spent much of his summer addressing complaints by former players that racial bias existed in his program.

The suit calls that a “dog whistle” phrase that was used to strip Black players of their cultural norms in order to fit in with a locker room that skewed toward white customs.

The result, the lawsuit claims, was an atmosphere that deprived Black athletes of the ability to enjoy their sport and pursue the education that coaches promised them during the recruiting process.

The eighth count is for breach of contract, claiming that the university, Barta and the coaches are at fault for not taking action when the players came forward with grievances about racial mistreatment.

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