Maryland’s football program is now at the center of controversy after ESPN published reports into the program’s treatment of players under head coach DJ Durkin and the staff’s handling of Jordan McNair at the May 29 practice where the lineman collapsed before dying two weeks later.
How reporters Adam Rittenberg, Heather Dinich and Tom VanHaaren summed up the allegations:
-There is a coaching environment based on fear and intimidation. In one example, a player holding a meal while in a meeting had the meal slapped out of his hands in front of the team. At other times, small weights and other objects were thrown in the direction of players when [strength coach Rick] Court was angry.
-The belittling, humiliation and embarrassment of players is common. In one example, a player whom coaches wanted to lose weight was forced to eat candy bars as he was made to watch teammates working out.
-Extreme verbal abuse of players occurs often. Players are routinely the targets of obscenity-laced epithets meant to mock their masculinity when they are unable to complete a workout or weight lift, for example. One player was belittled verbally after passing out during a drill.
-Coaches have endorsed unhealthy eating habits and used food punitively; for example, a player said he was forced to overeat or eat to the point of vomiting.
The report cites two anonymous players and a few anonymous former players, plus former players Malik Jones and J.T. Ventura. It also cites multiple former coaches, and says this about the anonymous players interviewed for the story:
The current players said they had talked with multiple players who described similar views about the team’s culture but feared repercussions if they talked publicly.
Here’s what people close to the program have said publicly since:
What follows are comments from before and after Maryland announced it had placed Durkin on administrative leave.
Keisha Staples, mother of Antoine Brooks, tells the Associated Press that she and a group of about eight players’ parents would like to meet with athletic director Damon Evans to voice their full support for Durkin.
‘’I’m sure not everybody has had the same experience we’ve had, but we have had a good experience,’’ Staples said.
Tackle Derwin Gray
Through All That’s Going We Will Be Ready Game One !!— Derwin Gray (@Teamgrayy) August 12, 2018
Storm Is Coming‼️#TerpNation
Receiver Brian Cobbs
We will come out on top— ✨B.COBBS✨ (@cobbs_brian) August 11, 2018
Lineman Ellis McKennie
Miss you bro @TheRealJMcNair give me some guidance from above— Ellis McKennie (@emck_cubed97) August 12, 2018
Punter Wade Lees
Totally agree, Coach Durkin is a great person and coach. A few anonymous statements do not speak for the entire program. https://t.co/Hjre9ldZpm— Wade Lees (@WL_88) August 11, 2018
Running back Jake Funk
My former roommate couldn’t have said it better. https://t.co/OEzrjdj2be— Jake Funk (@jakefunk34) August 11, 2018
Running back Anthony McFarland
Nah I’m good over here bro ON GOD .. and you going see why soon . https://t.co/D3a7mINspS— 5️⃣ (@AnttMacc_) August 11, 2018
Cornerback Kenny Bennett
Not even half of us.. We all we got! pic.twitter.com/dcqhVixCJa— Kenny (@KennethBennett_) August 12, 2018
Cornerback RaVon Davis
Sept 1.— RaVon Davis (@RayyyMoneyyy) August 12, 2018
Wide receiver DJ Turner
Sept 1st— DJ (@_DjTurner1) August 12, 2018
Tight end Chigoziem Okonwko
September 1st. All that matters.— cнιgozιeм oĸonĸwo (@ChigTweets) August 12, 2018
Safety Raymond Boone
We’re a family and a family sticks together #terps see you guys sept 1st— BOONE® (@_SavageRay) August 11, 2018
A former off-field assistant:
Don’t believe everything you read! There are some great people in the Maryland program. Yes they do coach hard but that’s everywhere you go. I am not speaking on that day when we lost a great Young man. But I can speak on the times when I was there. I stand with the #Terps— Justin Winters (@CoachJustinAR) August 11, 2018
Running back Jordan Houston
Cornerback Tayvion Land
....— Tayvion Land™ (@espntankkk) August 12, 2018
Linebacker Kameron Blount
I don’t know what happened but that doesn’t change the fact that this news is embarrassing. I like Durkin and the trainer Wes he was great when I was there. It’s still embarrassing https://t.co/Z6L1D0S1g1— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) August 12, 2018
Jermaine Carter Jr.
Too many softies out here man— Jermaine Carter Jr. (@JERMA1NECARTER) August 11, 2018
My experiences at Maryland, in the DJ Durkin Era were all positive experiences. The coaches welcomed the alum and their families with open arms. The players all seemed to be having fun and comfortable. Don’t believe everything you read!— Cameron Chism (@CamChism) August 11, 2018
When you see Maryland Football is trending and then you see why.... pic.twitter.com/l1moPxdb9z— FRAN¢ (@AJFrancis410) August 11, 2018
Lol come on man. I ain’t tryna be interviewed about it. I aint never had no problems their but i do understand everything that was said— ☆Teldrick Morgan☆™ (@TeldrickM) August 12, 2018
but nah bro I aint never had no problems there— ☆Teldrick Morgan☆™ (@TeldrickM) August 12, 2018