The parents of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair are blaming the 19-year-old’s death from a heat stroke he suffered during a team workout this summer on the bullying culture presided over by DJ Durkin, and they say the embattled coach should be fired.
“He shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid,” Martin McNair told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday. “You send your kid away to college for them to be developed into young people — and that’s physically, emotionally and spiritually. And teach our young kids, our young people that we worked so hard to get there, to, ‘Hey, I’m giving my child to you. Keep him safe.’ They did anything but that. So of course he should be fired.”
McNair was running sprints with a group of lineman during an offseason workout May 29 when the freshman started showing signs of exhaustion, reportedly struggling to even stand upright. The circumstances surrounding McNair’s death emerged around the same time as a damning ESPN report of a toxic culture within the Maryland football program, which included bullying and extreme intimidation tactics directed at players by the coaching staff.
Head athletic trainer Wes Robinson reportedly yelled “Drag his ass across the field” to a group of trainers who were holding McNair up. McNair’s mother, Tonya, said her son was frightened of the ridicule he would receive for not finishing the drill, so he continued.
“Jordan was the type of person who would give his all, give his best, because someone asked him to do something,” Wilson said. “He would always give his all. He wouldn’t have stopped. He wouldn’t have stopped. If that’s the culture, he didn’t want to be called any names, things that they say they’ve been called.”
Durkin, meanwhile, has placed on administrative leave as the university investigates allegations of abuse by staff members and whether the purported culture of bullying did in fact lead to McNair’s death. Two members of the Maryland training staff , Robinson and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall, have also been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.