This story was originally posted earlier in the day when the McNairs made their comments on Good Morning America. It has been updated along with reports of the family being unwilling to settle with Maryland unless Durkin is fired.
Jordan McNair’s parents, Martin McNair and Tonya Wilson, gave their first interview since since the death of their son Thursday on Good Morning America, and didn’t mince words when asked about Maryland head football coach Durkin.
A couple minutes into the interview, host Michael Strahan asked:
“The strength and conditioning coach has resigned, Rick Court, he’s resigned. The head coach DJ Durkin, he’s on administrative leave. Do you think he should resign as well?”
Martin McNair answered:
“Yes. Absolutely. He shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid. You don’t send your kid away to college, Michael, you send your kid away to college for them to be developed into young people. And that’s physically, emotionally, spiritually, and just teach our young kids that you work so hard to get there, to, ‘hey, I’ve given my child to you. Keep him safe.’ And they did anything but that. So of course he should be fired.”
Later in the day, in an interview with ESPN, McNair’s parents said they found out the details of the practice from Jordan’s teammates rather than from the school.
"I think he should be relieved of his job. I don't think that he should be allowed to coach anyone else's child in an environment like this."— ESPN (@espn) August 16, 2018
Jordan McNair's parents spoke about Maryland head coach DJ Durkin in a sitdown with ESPN's Heather Dinich: pic.twitter.com/TgbBk2yGlP
According to InsideMDSports, Maryland officials believe the parents won’t discuss a settlement with the University of Maryland until head football coach DJ Durkin is fired. These claims have been refuted by Hassan Murphy, one of the family’s attorneys, who called the original report “categorically false.”
This comes two days after university of Maryland president Wallace Loh said in a press conference that the school accepts “legal and moral responsibility” for their son’s death. The McNairs described Loh’s words as “meaningful” but still want Durkin fired and will then discuss a settlement.
McNair collapsed at Maryland’s first organized workout of the summer on May 29. He died 14 days later in a Baltimore hospital.
“When we got the call, it was more of a call about a seizure,” Martin McNair said on Good Morning America. “And he was a kid that was healthy for 19 years. This was the first time he was in the hospital since he was born. Never missed a practice. Worked hard every day at all games. Never missed a game, never missed a practice. So initially it was kinda hard to understand or wrap our heads, our minds around the severity of heat stroke, which we initially didn’t know what it was.”
Strahan asked about ESPN’s story detailing a culture the publication describes as “toxic.”
“If it’s true, yes. Jordan was the type of person that would give his all, would give his best because someone asked him to do something he will always give his all,” Wilson said. “He wouldn’t have stopped. Because if that’s the culture, then he didn’t want to be called names and things that they said they’ve been called.”
To that end, McNair family lawyer Hassan Murphy added:
“Michael, there’s no doubt that there was a toxic culture there. And the toxic culture is what led to them to push Jordan beyond what his body could tolerate. It pushed them to look at him being exhausted and out of shape, to curse at him as he was literally failing. That’s toxic.”
Martin McNair pleaded with families watching to go to the foundation set up in his son’s name, which is dedicated to educating the football community on the dangers of heat-related illness.
“This particular injury isn’t just something that happened to Jordan,” McNair said. “It’s something that happens all the time.”