An explosive report alleging a culture of abuse and humiliation emerged against Maryland football on Friday afternoon. Crediting three bylines, the ESPN report spoke to multiple former players and coaches, anonymously, to paint a picture of a program running on fear and intimidation — enforced by assistant AD for football sports performance Rick Court and condoned by head coach D.J. Durkin.
There are multiple damning passages, but here’s one from a current Terp:
Another former player alleged the staff made an injured player do a tug-of-war competition against the whole defensive back unit.
“They made him do it with one hand,” he said. “Coach Court called him a p—- after he didn’t win. One [player] was doing a tug-of-war … and he passed out. … I saw his body slowly giving away, and the strength coach was like, ‘Keep pulling, keep pulling!’ … He collapsed on the ground. He looked at him like, ‘You quit on the team.’ It was really barbaric.”
And another from a former coach:
“We always talked about family, but whose family talks to you like that, calls you a p—y b—h?” a third former staffer said. “There are so many instances.”
At the forefront of all this is the tragic case of Jordan McNair. The 19-year-old Terps offensive lineman collapsed during a May 29 workout and passed away two weeks later. He was later found to have had a body temperature of 106 degrees in the midst of the heatstroke that ultimately killed him.
Said a current player:
“It shows a cultural problem that Jordan knew that if he stopped, they would challenge his manhood, he would be targeted,” one of the current players said. “He had to go until he couldn’t.”
Maryland has since placed multiple unnamed staff members on administrative leave, but such a move is just the beginning. The school is currently conducting an investigation into McNair’s death, but the McNair family has hired a law firm to conduct its own investigation, and lawyer Billy Murphy told ESPN a lawsuit is “likely.”
Heading into his third season at Maryland, Durkin, 40, is 10-15 with the Terps, including a 4-8 mark last season.