Opinion: Urban Meyer’s ‘character and leadership’ con continues as Jags hire ex-Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle
If Urban Meyer had taken the job at, say, the University of Texas and tried to hire a staff member who lost his previous job because a large number of former players came forward with credible allegations of bullying and racist language toward Black players, the response would be simple and overwhelming.
It would have been justified outrage at Meyer for running his longtime “Character and Leadership” con while excusing or overlooking some truly terrible behavior by his subordinates, complete and utter contempt for the athletic director who allowed it to happen and righteous indignation at a system that allows someone like former Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle to resurface without significant consequences.
So … why not have that same energy now that Meyer has done this in his first few weeks with the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Let’s lay this out very simply. Meyer’s first big whiff as an NFL coach came Thursday when the Jaguars announced Doyle, whose alleged misdeeds came to light last summer as current and former Iowa athletes spoke out about racial disparities in the program, as their director of sport performance.
Jags coach Urban Meyer is already defending his hiring of ex-Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle.
Though Doyle denied wrongdoing, he took a $1.1 million buyout to go away after being placed on administrative leave. He would have essentially been unemployable at any big-time college football program. And eight months later he essentially gets … a promotion?
And in this case, it makes so little sense because of how unnecessary it is. Out of the hundreds of people qualified to run a sports performance department for an NFL team, you couldn’t find someone who hadn’t been accused of telling a Black player at Iowa he would get sent back to the ghetto? Or that “Maybe you should take up rowing or something, you know? Oh wait, Black people don’t like boats in the water, do they?”
Understand that these were not random, anonymous accusations. They were made in a public forum by former players who were willing to go on the record. And there were several of them, all of the same variety, painting the picture of a bully reveling in showing players how big and bad he was by stereotyping them and insulting their culture.
That’s why Meyer’s typical, tired excuse — oh, I know the guy so I know the real story — just doesn’t fly here.
“Yeah, I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years. Our relationship goes back to when I was at Utah and he was the №1 strength coach, and really he was doing sports performance before sports performance became a high priority in college sports, and so I’ve known him, I’ve studied him, we’ve had a relationship,” Meyer told reporters Thursday.
“I vetted him thoroughly, along with our general manager and owner. I feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position.”
Pressed again on the decision and whether he had any reservations, Meyer said: “I vet everyone on our staff, and the relationship goes back close to 20 years, and a lot of hard questions asked, a lot of vetting involved with all our staff, but we did a very good job vetting that one.”
Meyer may well be as good of an NFL coach as he was in college, but his fundamental flaw remains just as much a part of his pathology as it was at Ohio State and Florida. Meyer not only believes everyone is redeemable as long as they’re a value add from a football standpoint, but also that he is uniquely incapable of misjudging someone.
If Meyer had been at all objective about Zach Smith, his former assistant at Ohio State, he would have seen a human resources trainwreck whose long history of irresponsible behavior had practically planted red flags in front of the Woody Hayes Center, and that it was only a matter of time before something blew up and dragged Meyer into the muck.
Instead, even all these years later after Smith was fired amid domestic abuse allegations and an investigation that revealed how poorly Meyer handled his problematic employee, Meyer doesn’t believe he fundamentally did anything wrong.
Only that same variety of delusion could lead to Meyer hiring someone to an NFL operation whose name would only register to players for the toxic things he was alleged to have done.
Sorry, but this isn’t college football anymore, where in some towns they put the strength coach on billboards. Can you even name one NFL strength coach? Of course not. In fact, as of Thursday, Doyle is the only one.
Of course, unless Doyle is a complete idiot, there won’t be any racist comments or so-called motivational tactics when he’s working with the Jaguars. That would be a level of boldness he’d quickly come to regret, one way or another.
But in a league that couldn’t bring itself to give Colin Kaepernick a quarterback job because of the so-called distractions that came with him, what does it look like when a college coach comes into the league and not only brings aboard a guy who has never publicly addressed these allegations in a substantive way, but calls him “the best of the best.”
Maybe that’s true when it comes to training football players. But this whole situation is the worst of the worst.
Photo by simon sun on Unsplash
We all want 2021 to be an awesome year. And it can, through simple actions.
I love the topic of habits but let’s be honest, it gets overwhelming sometimes. There are articles telling us to change all of our life in a matter of seconds, as if it was no biggie. I’d love to meditate for 2 hours every day and read 2 books a week, but I’m sorry, I’ve only got 24 hours and other tasks to do.
That’s why I started implementing microscopic habits in the past few years. These never took much time away and don’t steal my energy as some other habits do. But above all, they’ve added to the quality of my life tremendously.
Pick one. Pick 13. Or all 21 if you want. You don’t need to do all of them all the time. I often skip some of them when life gets in the way, but I come back as soon as I can. You can too.
1. Write three things you’re grateful for.
Hell, start with one if need be. The goal is to always be looking for the positive in each day. Yes, that’s also for when you had the worst day and want to punch the next person who even dares to look at you.
I started this habit 2 years ago and it’s probably the most consistent one I’ve done. It’s easy and helps reframe the bad days. When I struggle to find a positive aspect in the previous day, I usually say I’m grateful for being alive and with a future full of possibilities. Simple but does the trick in the long run.
2. Refuse once a week.
If you accept everything coming your way, you’ll never have time for yourself. Create it by refusing whatever you’re not excited about during the week. Start by refusing once and see how liberating it is. You can also set higher limits of time for others, so there’s always so leeway for yourself.
Someone wants to have a meeting you consider pointless? Say you’re busy. Three friends want your help? Tell one of them they might need to find someone else.
As a heads-up: if you currently accept everything, people will need some time to adapt to this change. But, with time, they will accept it.
3. Exercise for a minute when you wake up.
One single minute. Nothing more. Even in your busy life, you can find the time for that, right? I’m not asking for a full-fledged workout, just a few simple exercises. I usually go for 30 push-ups and a minimum of 30 seconds of planking.
Exercising first thing in the morning gets the blood flowing and gets you out of the morning fog you could be experiencing. If you prefer a full workout in the morning, go ahead with it. But even if you prefer the evening, 1 minute in the morning doesn’t hurt. It helps.
4. Invest in experiences.
How often do you spend money on objects? Compare that number to how often you invest in experiences. My guess is you invest more in objects. And even if you spend the same amount on both, that’s still not the best. What we remember isn’t objects. It’s experiences. At best, objects help us remember some experiences.
In 2020, I often met friends outside for a walk or went on short trips with them (yes, it was possible in Japan). We created memories. We bonded. In 2021, I plan on increasing that even more.
5. Organize your home.
If you’ve never done it, try it. Whether you’ve got space or not, you can easily reorganize your home. In which way, you ask? Well, that’ll depend on what you do at home.
For me, I have set different spaces for different tasks (reading, working, meditating, sleeping, gaming, and so on). When I play League of Legends, I transfer my computer to the dedicated spot for gaming.
6. Throw things away.
If you’ve never consciously made an effort to throw something you had kept “because it could be useful”, then try it today. It’s liberating. You might get a taste for it and keep doing it. Or you might want to throw 465 items as I did in November following the Min’s Game.
Either way, there’s a lot of rubbish you could throw away and that creates space. There’s also a lot of stuff you’re hanging onto even though it doesn’t deserve it. My 11-year collection of the monthly free magazine “KOREA” definitely didn’t have to stay. Neither did my broken nunchuck.
7. Manage your money.
This is not about investing — although that’s also a good habit. This is about knowing where your money is coming from and going to. Most parents have this somewhat figured out, but I’ve seen many other people completely ignore this.
It doesn’t take long. You can set a free app like Money Manager, enter what you have and then automize regular incomes and expenses. When that’s done, just enter in a few taps your other expenses and their categories. Soon enough, you’ll know where you spend your money. Simple and doesn’t take more than a few seconds!
8. Stand up every hour.
That’s, without fault, the hardest one of all for me. It’s simple and I know it’s good for the body, yet I can’t seem to remember. Notifications don’t work and even if I remember to stand up while writing, I don’t want to break my flow. I used to do it often while working in Japan as I went out once an hour for a cigarette.
On paper, this is among the “easier” tiny habits to set. Yet, this one’s so hard to remember because we haven’t done it most of our lives. We’ve stayed sitting for hours on end for hundreds of thousands of hours. Change that.
9. Follow this simple proverb.
I live my life by “Quand on a pas de tête, on a des jambes.” This means “When we have no head, we have legs.” It might seem weird but I use it as a way to accept whatever happens. Most often, this is about forgetting something and having to go back home to pick it up.
Don’t get angry when you can’t find your keys or forget to buy your wine at the supermarket. Remind yourself you’ve got to have legs and do what needs to be done. Accept that what’s done is done. All you can do is go forward.
10. Ask open-ended questions.
Apart from a few topics (and especially language learning!), I’m not a great talker. I’ve gotten better with a simple trick. I ask open-ended questions as often as possible. I become a child asking “Why, Where, When, Who, What, Which”, and all other sorts of such questions.
Sometimes the situation doesn’t fit for this, but most often it does. Ask open questions whenever you can and you’ll be seen as a better interlocutor. Why? Because you help keep the conversation going and people love talking about themselves.
11. Turn off notifications.
Start for an hour a day. If you can last longer, do it. This isn’t as hard as you think it is. The only reason you’re not doing it is that “being reachable” has become a habit. That’s one you need to change.
It takes about 25 minutes to regain your focus, even if you only look at a notification for a second. Erase those for an hour and you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more. I’ve gotten addicted to it so my notifications are off two-thirds of my days now.
12. Prepare your clothes.
Simple but efficient. Why would you waste some of your precious mental energy in the morning when you could use whatever’s left the previous night? It doesn’t create havoc in your daily life, yet helps you save your energy for what matters. Awesome, right?
13. Watch the news less.
Chances are you’ve already started doing it in 2020 to avoid the mess this year was. If not, start today. No matter how curious you are, you don’t need to watch the news 3 times a day, let alone 10. If you can, only watch or read the news once, around midday. You probably don’t need more.
I’ve reduced my news-intake to once every two days and this works great. I’m always on track with what happens in the world and never overwhelmed. I even have more time for myself.
14. Drink more water.
Another simple tiny habit. It’s great for your health and you can get it pretty much anywhere. Now I wonder, why aren’t you already drinking more water? Come on, stop reading for a second and do it.
Bonus for smokers: try drinking water every time you want a cigarette. I’ve found most times I craved a cigarette was only because I was thirsty.
15. Discover one new thing a month.
My favorite of them all. Drop all expectations and just discover something new each month. I learned Origami in November, Python basics in December, and will learn to paint aquarelle in January. But it could also be diving into a topic you’ve been curious about. You could read about the battle of Marignano or look into the culture of “Purikura”.
Either way, discovering something new is exciting. It’s also useful because it keeps us curious and slowly expands our skills or knowledge over time. Do it the way you want. Spend 10 hours on it one Saturday or a few minutes a day for a month. What matters is for you to discover something new.
16. Make your bed.
Start with a win by making your bed, as said Admiral William McRaven in a speech. Another simple habit to add. It doesn’t “change your life right away” but, again, that’s not the goal. All we want here is to slightly improve it without messing with our general flow.
Get up, make your bed, and then follow with loads of other wins for the rest of the day.
17. Spend a minute a day with yourself.
Just one, come on. I know you can do it. No phone. No computer. No tablet, nor friends or pets around. Just you and your thoughts. Do this while on the toilet if need be. Doing this a minute won’t change your life either but it’ll help you start being aware of what you think, instead of being on autopilot.
Start with a minute and increase this as you go. Think about what you think. Talk to yourself. Just accept whatever your thoughts are and move on. Self-awareness is way underrated in our world.
18. Ask yourself whether what you’re doing is worth it.
There’s a lot of actions we do that don’t matter. To be more precise, many aren’t worth our time. We finish them and move on until we think back a week later thinking about how much time we wasted on it.
If you had two months left to live, would you be laying on the couch binge-watching the Queen’s Gambit? Or would you be writing that masterpiece you’ve always wanted?
19. If a task takes 2 minutes, do it right away.
There’s a lot of advice about doing whatever takes less than 5 minutes right away. I disagree. 5 minutes is still quite some time and can mess the rest of my schedule. Instead, I’ve set 2 minutes as the higher limit to do right away.
If it takes 5 minutes, write it on a paper you hang in front of you. Then do it within the next hour and a half. It gives you some leeway yet prevents you from procrastinating for days.
20. Take care of your posture.
A bad posture has a lot of repercussions in the long run. I’ve had a hunched back for so long I struggle to keep it straight now. I forget it all the time but whenever it comes to mind, I sit straight again (like I just did when I started writing this part).
A bit of effort goes a long way. If you still have a good posture, treasure it and notice when it’s not the case. If you have a bad posture, hang reminders around. For a while, my phone’s background picture was a simple sentence: “Stand straight!”