LMSM 19 | Urban Meyer

 

The coach of an NFL football team hired a strength and conditioning coach, and all hell broke loose. Frank Cava and Ian Mathews break down how this questionable decision went horribly wrong and play Monday morning quarterback on what the Jacksonville Jaguars and head coach Urban Meyer could have done differently.

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The Ramifications Of Putting Results Ahead Of Culture

The Laughably Poor Judgment Of Urban Meyer And The Jacksonville Jaguars

Frankie, here we are doing an impromptu show.

The ego of the 21st century or the technology of the 21st century is such an ego that we think our important take on our topic needs to be heard in real-time.

There are at least eleven people that want to know our take on the breaking news that happened overnight. The story that Frank and I know either side of pretty well. Breaking news came out in the world of sports. Urban Meyer, who is the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, made very controversial hiring. He hires a strength and conditioning coordinator who had been fired from Iowa University after being there for years. He was the highest-paid strength and conditioning coordinator and he was fired in June of 2020 with a severance with all of that after a sizeable lawsuit against him by a number of former football players.

We’re going to get into all of the details of this. I find this fascinating because a large contingent of my friends from Chicago went to Iowa. On the text message thread, this has gone around. A bunch of guys that went to high school with my wife played in Iowa. We know somebody well who played while this guy was a strength and conditioning coordinator. This goes back years, obviously. Tangentially, I know about this story because a lot of texting going back and forth on, “Can you believe what’s happening?” All this stuff. You know Urban Meyer as well as any college coach around because that was your dude.

Urban Meyer was a coach in the University of Florida. I didn’t look up the exact years but I believe was 2005 through 2013. They won a National Championship in 2006 and they won a National Championship in 2008. I’m a huge fanboy of Urban Meyer but I was more of a fanboy many years ago because of things that have unfolded. What’s funny about this conversation is I thought was going to be very much keen to talk about what I wanted to talk about, which is the Urban Meyer side of this. He wants to talk more about the strength and conditioning coach side of it because of our loyalties. His loyalties and his familiarity more come from the Iowa connection that he explained.

I didn’t play football at Florida but I went to Florida. I was a fan and my sister happened to be in school. the exact same years Tebow was in school. That’s the golden era of Florida football and Urban Meyer was the coach during all of this. Our perspectives on this are very different. One thing that Ian and I are aligned on and we talked a lot about it, Urban Meyer is brilliant for the where he goes to work. We’ve talked about how he is as a reclamation specialist and goes into places with tons of talent and opportunity, the right amount of salary cap. All these green shoots, he goes in there and makes huge changes in a short period of time. That could be a separate episode. What we’re going to talk about now is a different facet of someone who’s incredibly smart with where he positions himself.

A big reason why I want to talk about it is I’m in awe a little bit of the choices that Urban Meyer has made in his career. It’s a very carefully curated career. As soon as he figured out that he was peaking at Utah, he left. He went to an amazing program that he knew had been down for a few years. There wasn’t much downside, expectations were low.

This is the move from Utah to Florida or when he goes to Utah.

There's a reason the Jaguars are a dumpster fire. It starts with management. Click To Tweet

Both. When he went to Florida, expectations were low because they’d stunk for a couple of years.

They had a great recruiter who couldn’t get the talent to perform in Ron Zook. We can get into it quickly. It was a little bit of the same thing at Utah. They had a coach that was a little bit older like Bobby Bowden in his last few years at Florida State. They had tons of talent on the roster they couldn’t get to perform. They go undefeated at Utah in the second season. They have Alex Smith on their team who’s an incredible player who is still in the NFL. He goes from Bowling Green to Utah then the top of the SEC. Two years after he gets to Florida, he won the National Championship.

We’re going to talk a little bit under the circumstances they left but when he chose his next head coaching job, it was another brilliant choice, he followed a good coach who had recruited very well to the best football program in the Big 10 at Ohio State. He also followed after a scandal where the coach before him was unceremoniously booted out because of the tattoo scandal, which may or may not even be a story if it was now. In my opinion, he has done everything right from choices and picking the right context to take his talents. He’s been textbook on how to go leverage your experience, skills, and knowledge to more money and better opportunities. He’s not made many gaffes like this, which is why I found it to be a shocking story that he did this.

My argument is this is consistent. We’re going to unfold that as we go through this. Where he’s chosen to work has been from Wallace? Who he’s chosen to bring with him or who he’s chosen to hire hasn’t been? That’s been part of the problem. That’s what we’re going to talk about.

Here’s the background. If you’re not a football fan and you’re not following the story, Urban Meyer was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars in January of 2021 with a ton of fanfare. The Jaguars have drafted very well in the last 6, 7 years.

They stunk. They’ve been drafted well for many years that they’ve been in business. In reality, what you’re talking about is the core team got some talent.

The Lions have stunk for many years and we can’t draft well. We’re having high picks. They’ve drafted well and they’ve stunk anyway. Urban Meyer, again, chose perfectly to come into a toxic organization that’s very broken where expectations are about as low as possible in Florida. He knows he’s got the number one pick and a generational quarterback. He was very smart coming into Jacksonville. It was the glamour higher in the NFL for years. I can’t think of a bigger NFL higher than Urban Meyer. He’s on the Mount Rushmore of coaches, college or pro. He’s a famous coach.

It’s a dated reference at this point but it was almost when Nick Saban went to Miami because he was looked at as a savior. It’s the argument of our net worth together when Jeff Bezos comes into a room. It all goes up significantly. Back then, he had won National Championship. He’s got 6 or 7 more but it was a big hire. That’s the last splashy guy that I can think of and that’s been a decade.

LMSM 19 | Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer: Urban Meyer has been a textbook on how to leverage your experience, your skills, your knowledge to get more money and better opportunities.

 

Anyone who watches the NFL could tell you who the Jaguars hired. Most people cannot tell you who the Lions, Jets, Chargers took, or any of the other open positions but everyone knows the Jaguars got Urban Meyer. It’s a big spotlight on.

To summarize this in a different way, my wife knows who Urban Meyer is. While we were walking into the University of Navy versus the Southern Methodist University football team, football game, she’s a college professor, she looked at me and asked, “Is this college proud?” She knows who Urban Meyer is.

She was not joking. Meyers gets hired in January 2021. Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they’ve hired Chris Doyle as the new strength and conditioning coordinator. Immediately, social media went crazy. We have to rewind on why social media went crazy by him announcing that he hired Chris Doyle. Chris Doyle had been with the Iowa Hawkeyes programs since 1999. He was largely thought of as the premier strength and conditioning coordinator in the country. He was paid that way. He was paid $800,000 per year, which was the highest-paid strength and conditioning coordinator of any Division 1 College Football Program. Clearly, he was good at what he did. The reason why it was such a bombshell is Doyle was fired in mid-June of 2020.

Doyle was fired amidst allegations and a large lawsuit from former players claiming that “African-American player athletes were more harshly, if not exclusively, punished or reprimanded for menial disruptions like singing, dancing, or ‘looking funny.’ The suit claims that the result was an atmosphere that deprived black athletes of the ability to enjoy their sport.” There was a large number of college kids that were on this lawsuit.

The vast majority of them never graduated from Iowa. A lot of them left or transferred. This was a very big deal. There’s so much controversy around this. The longtime head coach Kirk Ferentz was rumored to be going out the door with Doyle. One former player said, “For Ferentz not to have known about the treatment. Ferentz was the CEO and Doyle was the COO.” Ferentz’s quote on the coaching style of some of his assistants and I’m quoting, “At times was demeaning and created unnecessary frustration and anxiety. One byproduct of that is that some of our black athletes felt they couldn’t be themselves in our culture. To that end, we must be more inclusive and more aware.”

A lot of the rumors and things coming around came out that Doyle was not a big fan of the ghetto culture, whatever that means, and the way that some African-Americans dressed, acted, talked, and made fun of them. Obviously, they can’t help the culture they came from. These are kids that you’re dealing with. In general, it’s worth stating a college football locker room is not a corporate office. It’s going to be a much harsher environment. It’s a very alpha male testosterone-driven place to be. It’s no different than a high school locker room is in football. They’re going to be tougher places to be than a typical corporate environment. A lot of what was alleged in this lawsuit went much farther than your typical hazing to get someone to run their sprints a little bit harder. To the point, there were a lot of pro and college players that were weighing in on this situation when he was let go. That sets the scene.

Urban Meyer, superstar, famous, one of the most sought-after coaches in any sport, within weeks of being hired to turn a toxic program around makes a hire like that in an environment of 2020 that, let’s be honest, has been incredibly racially charged in general. That sets the stage. Forty-eight hours later, Doyle announced that he was “resigning.” This is the quote from the Jaguars, “Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation and we have accepted it. Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program. In a retrospect, we should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best in his career.” That was from Urban Meyer. That’s Urban’s quote two days after he announced with great fanfare that Chris Doyle was the new strength and conditioning coach.

We’re doing our best to curse less. What ended up happening with this is thematic through this entire thing. A quick aside. If Chris Doyle’s name is removed from this and your name is inserted here, and there’s a press release that said, “You have resigned because you think it’s getting in the way of the mission of the organization,” you were fired. You were given the ability to do so in a way that was less public and shaming than literally having your head cut off by your organization. I’m not an insider with Jacksonville, but I speak corporate-speak well enough to know that Chris was fired. This wasn’t a voluntary type of thing.

If you don’t fire the guy who sells but makes everyone feel terrible, you’re sending a message that the results are all you care about. Click To Tweet

You don’t believe that Chris built up so much loyalty and heart towards the Jacksonville Jaguars organization that he did not truly want to be a distraction to what they were building there. You don’t believe that?

I believe he was fired.

It’s like they want to spend more time with their family or you got shit-canned every time.

Let’s start here if you’re cool with it. You think Urban Meyer is someone who picks incredible opportunities in places where he’s allowed to flourish. He picks opportunities. He goes to Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, Ohio State, and now Jacksonville. He’s so good. He’s one of the winning coaches. He picks and makes the right decisions on that opportunity. Where this gets interesting and to me, the story is it’s the ego that comes with him. The issue is he is so freaking good, he thinks his presence, his ability, and who he is going to get the best out of other people. I’ll give you some examples of other people that he has worked with.

You got me thinking differently because I got on this call and I thought you were going to be as shocked as me because I see him as a very calculated guy.

He is calculated, but I went back and watched the Aaron Hernandez documentary. I’m a Florida football fan. I liked the Pouncey brothers who retired. I loved Tim Tebow. I’m a football fan. I root for these people. When they take the jersey off and they get off the field, in some instances, people playing a violent sport and do violent things. I thought these people were heroes to be worshiped. Now, I realized they’re incredibly talented jocks who are great at a sport. As I raise my kid, I’m going to talk to them about the pluses and the minuses of people who are made famous.

I was reading an article in The Wall Street Journal about the feud between Zuckerberg and the CEO, Tim Cook of Apple. The point is this. In listening and watching what Urban Meyer does is he shows up and he thinks his presence is going to raise all the ships around him. In many instances, he’s right. He goes into a place like Florida and he says, “I’m going to demand more from you,” and because he says he’s going to demand more, the team performs better. That’s the reason two years after he got there, he took a team that was 6 and 4 or 8 and 4 and took them to National Champions in two years because he got more out of them. On the backside of that is the ego that goes with, “I can get more out of you” is, “I might be able to impress upon you my belief system.”

It didn’t work with several people. Zach Smith is someone who was fired from Ohio State. He got suspended for several games because he boosted this guy up. This guy was someone who has domestic dispute charges on his record. Urban knew it and he said, “I know his dad. I know him. It’s okay, we can look the other way.” Where we are in the 21st century, you can’t do that. In addition, there was Cam Newton. Cam Newton ended up leaving Florida going to a school called Trinity Christian in Texas. He won the Division 2 National Championship. The next year, he comes back and he plays at Auburn and he wins a national title there. He goes first overall and 11, 12 years later, he won the MVPs and plays in the Super Bowl.

LMSM 19 | Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer: Urban Meyer is on the Mount Rushmore of coaches today, college or pro. He’s a famous coach.

 

He’s incredible but he also had a checkered past and he got kicked off of the team at Florida because he stole laptops, allegedly. Ian and I are not in the press. We’re doing this based on things we read. This is yet another person that has an incredible talent that Urban Meyer thought he could boost up. The worst example is Aaron Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez was a Florida Gator. He won a National Championship at Florida. He was incredible. I remember rooting for this guy. I was at the National Championship Game that they won in January of ‘09.

Several years later, he gets arrested for murder and he gets convicted. This is someone who had a sketchy past, was on drugs, and had a lot of bad stuff going on around them. Urban Meyer’s ego and his self-belief in one way, unharnessed, allows him to accomplish these amazing things. In another way, it makes him make a terrible hiring decision on someone who’s using racial slurs and was fired from the pre-eminent strength program in the country. This is the worst part. He didn’t ask anybody. It seems that to you and me, he didn’t ask anybody on the team. He just did it.

We both need to make it clear. I don’t know Chris Doyle, you don’t know Chris Doyle. There are a lot of players that came out in defense of Chris Doyle. “Great guy, made me into a man, awesome coach, I love him, this is whining.” There were players on the other side of this saying that they didn’t agree with the lawsuit. They thought it was defamation on either side. I have no idea what he did, what he didn’t do but there’s enough in the head coach’s quotes to say that he’s accepting some responsibility that the culture was not an inclusive one for African-Americans. Let’s put that out there. The head coach said that. When a head coach and one who’s respected, Kirk Ferentz, says that seven months prior and you are the head coach of an NFL team.

The NFL is 69% African-American. You have to walk into that locker room and lead those men. These are men now. They’re not kids anymore. You make that decision without talking to the team. We’re going to get into that a little bit, but his quote set off a number of different advocate organizations. “I’ve known Chris for close to twenty years. Our relationship goes back to when I was at Utah and he was the number one strength coach. He was doing sports performance before sports, before men’s became a high priority. I’ve known him, I’ve studied him, we’ve had a relationship. I vetted him thoroughly along with our general manager and owner. I feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position, we vetted him thoroughly. Sports performance is going to be a high priority.”

Nowhere in that paragraph to me does Urban Meyer say anything about his character. Everything is about his technical competence, his ability to build muscles on a team, his sports performance coaching abilities, and how important that is to an organization. In no way does he say, “I vetted this with former players or current players. I talked to my captains.” He doesn’t do any of that. Let’s break this thing apart a little bit. “I vetted them thoroughly along with our general manager and owner.” Frank, I’m going to combine number 9 and 7 here on our agenda but let’s put ourselves in the owner and the general manager’s position. I’m not sure Urban Meyer went to them. Maybe he did, maybe didn’t, I’m speculating at this point but I would be shocked if the owner was there. It’s important to say this.

Jacksonville has repeatedly been accused of having a toxic culture of pro-bowl players screaming to the press, “Get me out of here.” Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, Dante Fowler, Yannick Ngakoue, these are all absolute top of the league first-round picks stars screaming, “Get me out of here. Trade me or I’ll retire.” It’s been ugly. Houston might take them over soon but Jacksonville, more than anyone, has been losing talent left and right. They’re like an office that has a bad turnover problem.

The Raiders had got their act together since Gruden’s got there but Cincinnati is this way. It’s awful.

If you’re the owner, Frank, and Urban Meyer did come to you and say, “I want to make this hire. I know this guy. I’ve known him for twenty years.” You even did some rudimentary Google searching. Let’s say you didn’t even know the story. You weren’t following the Iowa Hawkeye story of June. Let’s be real. No one follows Iowa Hawkeye or anything unless it’s a big story like this. Maybe he didn’t know about it. If you ran a Google search on his name and you know what your organization has been accused of, you’re the owner, is there any way you don’t call a timeout and say, “Do we need to do this? It’s a strength coach. We can’t find another strength coach right now. Do we want to die on this cross?”

Ego and selfishness are what ultimately get people shot or overthrown when they run countries. Click To Tweet

There are two things I want to say and the first one is this. You read the quote from Meyer and you stopped with sports performance is going to be a high priority. The next thing he said, there was a slightly different quote, but he goes, “Once again, I’ll explain that if it becomes a question.” This was the hiring. “The one thing I’m very confident in is that I would imagine within 1 or 2 years, we will have the best sports performance team in the National Football League.” Urban Meyer is the ultimate salesman. He’s got a high ego drive. He’s being paid $12 million a year for this role. He’s the highest-paid coach in the NFL, more than Belichick. That’s a lot of money and he comes in. What Ian is trying to say or would the point we’re driving out with Ian is, what about the backstop of management?

You’ve got, in here, someone who is got incredibly go drive who thinks the whole focus needs to be our conditioning program. What I come to is what you said a second ago. The owner’s name is Shahid Khan. Shahid Khan is a billionaire in a different business. If he doesn’t know that this guy had an issue at Iowa, his NFL franchise worth billions of dollars has worse technology than my company with 30 employees on background checks. It’s ignorance. There is something that was absolutely overlooked. Ian is saying all these players left.

There’s a reason the Jaguars are a dumpster fire. It starts with management. There’s a book on my shelf called The Dynasty. It’s about what Robert Kraft did with the Patriots. It started with character and with people. I don’t think, based on what I read in Dynasty, this hire makes it. They could have talked about in the back room but that’s the difference between a good ownership group like what the Patriots have and something like this. It’s like, “We’re going to make a decision because we’re going to have the best strength program in the NFL within two years.”

His reasoning is the reason why people hire jerks into organizations but they say, “He’s going to sell low. This guy can sell. Everyone is going to hate him and he’s going to destroy the morale of our office but he can sell.” That’s a terrible reason to hire someone or to keep them. We talk all the time, that’s the guy you fire. It’s the guy who sells but makes everyone feel terrible because you’re sending a message. “The results are all that I care about. I don’t care about how you all feel as a team.” It’s an awful message to say, “We’re going to be the strongest.” What you’re saying is, “I’m cool with the trade-offs. We got to live with them. We’re going to be really strong.”

I said this to you in preparation for this and I’ll say it now. I believe Urban Meyers is going to make this decision but again, I don’t have inside access. It’s what Ian and I believe in what we’ve read. This is the reason that dictators get assassinated. It’s absolutely caring for no one but yourself. Being obtuse to the outside world. Being tone-deaf. Our success comes above all else. It’s riddled with ego and selfishness. That ego and selfishness are what ultimately gets people shot or overthrown when they run countries. In this instance, it only lasted for 48 hours. There was a groundswell and it was over but it’s yet another bad decision in a career of brilliant decisions.

Frank, don’t you think timing is everything on stuff like this? The timing and the context couldn’t be worse. Jacksonville is not a place that needs to be taking a risk higher like this. It’s a risky hire. It’s not stable. It’s a very unstable place. It is immediately after this all happened. He’s getting an NFL strength and coaching. It almost looks like a promotion. The one thing if he went and he took maybe a lower-level job in a smaller program, rehabilitated himself, got some people to say he got there.

Let’s say an organization like the Patriots or the Packers took him in at a little smaller and let him work his way back up there, they’re stable, they talked to their players first. I think that’s a different situation. I don’t think either of us is saying Chris Doyle should never work again. I don’t think that’s fair because the NFL is filled with people that have had 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th chances with all kinds of checker things on their past. To say, he doesn’t get a chance, the bigger issue here is it’s Jacksonville, it’s 2020, and this happened for such a short period of time. All of those things combined trying to change a culture, this whole thing makes no sense whatsoever from a judgment perspective.

I agree with everything you said. There could have been a process but I would argue this. I don’t know what it takes to run an NFL franchise. What I would think is there are a lot of good strength and conditioning people out there that don’t have this baggage. It’s a risky hire but let’s put this on the table. Ian and I are no choir boys. We have had massive screw-ups. Someday, we’re going to do the top three biggest screw-ups in our lives, talk about them, and put them out there. You could see inside of our underwear drawer.

LMSM 19 | Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer: A college football locker room is not a corporate office. It’s a much harsher environment.

 

I have had a massive screw up in my life. I’ve had a couple of them and I’ve been forgiven but it wasn’t immediate. It wasn’t seven months later. Everything that I sourced from this was from ESPN.com but I’d read about eight articles. This is what I didn’t hear. Remorse, rehabilitation, or he’d gone to counseling. I saw none of that. All I saw, read, and heard is that this person had this problem not very long ago and now, he’s getting a position that’s, as Ian said, more of promotion and there has been no process of rehabilitation or set of steps.

All Meyer talks about is he was a great strength coach. He doesn’t even talk about what happened at Iowa. It’s almost like it didn’t happen. If I talk about strength, everyone will ignore everything else. The reason why he’s not employed anymore, why he was available in the market if he’s the best, I’m leaving inconveniently. I’m leaving it out why he’s available, why was he able to go snag the star.

You know the story better than I do but the emperor shows up with no clothes. Can you talk about that real quick? What’s the myth?

It’s an old fable of a king that got to the point where everyone was so scared of him that they wouldn’t tell him the truth. A couple of shysters came and sold him a bag of goods that they were going to give him the most beautiful wardrobe ever. They faked it, put on nothing on him, and put him in a mirror. He was embarrassed to say he couldn’t see the clothes. He walked around the streets and everyone on the streets clapped and said, “Your clothes are amazing, King.” No one would tell him the truth because they were scared of the repercussions of saying, “You’re buck naked walking around the streets.” That’s what happens.

I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened here but it seems like it. It seems like someone with a ton of power is saying, “We’re making this decision, myopic and blind to everything else going on around us. To hell with any other reasoning and logic.” What I’m telling you is someone who is a huge fanboy of Urban Meyer, it’s tiring. You watch it but it’s like, “Here he goes again. This is yet another one of these situations.” The NFL is something that we play fantasy football around, gamble on, or watch as a distraction.

What I think is critical and the takeaway from this is this. If you are building a business, you’re running a business, or you’re inside management, you need people that will be honest with you. You need to confront things, and not turn a blind eye to huge red flags on resumes. It means to be talked about and done. If you’re going to make a decision based upon this situation, it would be completely different. If there were four captains, the GM, and the owner all talked about it and they said no for all on board. That wasn’t it.

Here’s one more quote from Urban because Urban was challenged by a reporter on, “What did your players think?” His quote was, “I’m going to be very transparent with the players like I am with everything. I will listen closely and learn. Also, there’s going to have to be some trust in the head coach that we’re going to give them the very best of the best. Time will tell, the allegations that took place. I will say to the players, ‘I vetted them. I know the person for twenty years. I can assure you there’ll be nothing of any sort in the Jaguar facility.’”

Everything he’s saying is, “I will talk to the players later. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.” That’s where the ego comes in. There’s going to have to be some trust in their head coach. “I will listen, but I already made the choice.” You’re going to listen after. What if they all say, “We hate this? This is awful.” He’s saying that I’m going to say, “Trust me.” How do I trust someone that didn’t even get my opinion on something this explosive? To me, when you’re addressing a locker room, when something like this has happened, how do you not say, “I talked to ten of you and you gave me great feedback.” You all talked to 10 or 12 of your friends in the league or people that were close to it. “This is what we all talked about.” Let your players help you communicate some of this and check on it. The most tone-deaf thing that happened in this whole thing is he made the decision and didn’t talk to his players.

When you work with a team, for good reason, you can't make decisions without talking to everybody. Click To Tweet

It was like they didn’t matter. As soon as we saw this thing come out, that’s going to blow up. I’m not into cancel culture. I’m not trying to be woke. I’m not into any of that shit. This one was so obvious. Everything about it was, “What are you doing?” That’s not me being woke. I knew that enough woke people were going to lose it and enough people that are involved in this were going to be upset, and for a good reason. You can’t make decisions like this without talking to everybody.

Here’s a hard-hitting reality what’s a big J journalism. Ian and I are petrified that if we’re honest about something like this, our entire show will be canceled 24 episodes in.

I don’t even know if anyone knows about us to cancel us but we could get canceled. If I got canceled, that’s pretty cool though. It would save us six hours a week of our time. To me, one of my biggest takeaways is you can’t make a decision that is potentially controversial without talking to your team. Even you at Cava, I didn’t even like to hire managers without having a few people that would work for them getting on the interview panel. I would like to try to get their opinion and see what they thought on something like this.

Another question I would ask you, Frank. I’m thinking about it. Urban Meyer was the prize of this offseason. He was the coach everyone wanted. The Lions surely would have loved to have gotten him. He was going to make the most money. You could picture the Jaguars selling so hard to Urban Meyer. That owner, that GM, the executives selling so hard, “We got to get Urban,” that within a couple of weeks when he says, “I want to hire this guy,” they’re probably still a little bit in sales mode. We want to give our prize hire and what he wants. This one is almost like a reverse Emperor in New Clothes. It’s his boss who doesn’t want to say, “It seems like a bad idea.” The boss made an ignorant job and not pushing back saying, “Urban, I like you. I’m excited you’re here. This one doesn’t make sense for where our culture is right now.”

It’s either that or the boss is equally clueless. Ian and I have put together a series of thoughts that we have about things that happen either in business or pop culture or whatever. This one to both of us smack glaringly at bad systemic decision-making. I have a 30-person company, we would not have made this mistake. We’ve both worked at publicly traded companies that would not have made this mistake. The mistake isn’t necessarily the hiring of the person. The mistake is the process and the way that it was rolled out. It was rolled out of, “I am the dictator. This is what we’re going to do. Deal with it.” It was very narrowly focused on one thing, not everything. It’s a myopic decision.

I’m curious, do you think Doyle should work in football again?

I don’t know him well enough to understand. I don’t know the allegations. I didn’t know his name until the news happened. I have no idea but what I will say is this. I think it is criminal to condemn nearly anyone. If you’re a murderer, you’re going to get dealt with but if you’ve made a mistake and you have rehabilitated and taken steps, it makes a lot of sense to have someone give you a chance. Maybe it’s in a position of training wheels, it’s not the same exact spotlight, it’s not for the same amount of money but all of us learn from our low points, not our high points. It’s reality going back as long as human beings have been on this earth. I hope if this person is committed to being a better person that they get a chance.

We’re 100% aligned there. I don’t want this show to sound like we’re condemning Chris Doyle for life. I don’t know anything about him. I’m with you. This was a stark example of a broken process of one person rushing out to make an ego-driven decision without thinking through and talking to the people that would be impacted the most. From the second we saw the hire, it ended as predictably as humanly possible. That’s why we want to talk about it. There’s a lot of lessons for any manager on vetting a decision like this thinking about all the stakeholders.

That also includes customers and fans. There’s more than the team, managers, rest of the league, and the other owners. How’s that going to look for the brand for the NFL and everything? The NFL and the fans got involved. When you’re in a position of power like that, you don’t make decisions unilaterally with something like this without thinking through all of the other stakeholders. That’s what happened. It ended the way pretty much anyone could have predicted.

LMSM 19 | Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer: The NFL is 69% African-American. You’re going to have to walk into that locker room and lead those men.

 

We said this but in closing, this is an example of how not to do it. The right way to do it is if you come across somebody in your business who has some red flags, the best thing to do is you do with everything. Identify them, be honest, communicate it, and get a quorum with others. Have a group of people supporting it. If there’s a group of people who support the decision, it’s a way better decision because a bad hire or a bad decision like this can negatively impact many. Many people were bought in on the front end, they’re going to help you keep that person honest, make sure they manage it, get more out of them, and hold them to a higher standard. If there is a problem, they’re also going to bring it to the attention of the leader and say, “These are some of the things we worried about. I’m seeing some of these behaviors.” That is a good culture. This is a dictatorship.

This was a fantastic expose that we knocked out. I am very excited about it.

I agree. Somehow or another, my wife gets a wife of the year points because we didn’t hear a peep.

Max didn’t make it here and neither did my dog, Magda. She didn’t come over here either. We both made it through without a puppy or a baby interrupting our show, which is incredible.

We’re getting good at this, Ian.

Great to see you, Frank.

Good time to get canceled.

It’ll probably get released by at least May 2021 when no one remembers the story.

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