University of Maryland officials have apologized and accepted responsibility, while other college coaches have made interesting remarks about the situation. The only people who had not publicly spoken about the death of Maryland football player Jordan McNair were his parents. That all changed Thursday morning.
In an interview with Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end turned ABC’s Good Morning America host Michael Strahan, Martin McNair and Tonya Wilson spoke out for the first time and called for the firing of Terrapins head coach D.J. Durkin, who is currently on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the program’s alleged toxic culture.
Jordan McNair, a 19-year-old offensive lineman, collapsed after running 110-yard sprints during a May 29 workout in College Park, Maryland and was hospitalized. He died two weeks later of reported heatstroke suffered during the workout.
“[Durkin] shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid,” Martin McNair said on the program. “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.”
Hassan Murphy, the parents’ attorney on hand, said “there’s no doubt” there was a “toxic culture” within the Maryland football program.
Maryland President Wallace D. Loh and Athletic Director Damon Evans recently met with McNair’s parents to apologize and, in a statement, said the university “accepts legal and moral responsibility for these mistakes.”
The family has started The Jordan McNair Foundation to promote education, awareness and prevention of heat-related illnesses and for student-athletes to learn their bodies.
The family speaking out publicly for the first time might also be the start to the final days of Durkin as a football coach.