By Mike Fallon, Iowa City
An important yardstick for measuring President Bruce Harreld’s concern for athletes: the copious amount of time he spent on the phone trying to convince other Big Ten Conference presidents to play football this fall. Apparently, newly appointed league football Commissioner Kevin Warren repeatedly cited recent advice from medical experts when rebuffing Harreld’s pleas. Warren stated that there was “too much uncertainty” surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic to go forward with a sports season this fall. Bruce Harreld and one other president (Nebraska) continually fought for football to continue while 11 Big 10 university presidents said “No.”
Recall that more than 60 former Iowa players have spoken publicly about a football culture they say demeaned their racial identity. Former Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels, now with the Chicago Bears, tweeted, “There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program. Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.” Harreld, like other leaders during this pandemic, places profits and personal pleasure over people’s lives. In the court of public opinion, Harreld is guilty of crimes against humanity.