The tumult in and around the Maryland football program continues, with teammates reportedly turning against one another in a very physical way.
In an interview with WUSA 9 and other media outlets Wednesday night, the attorney for the family of Jordan McNair, the Maryland offensive lineman who died in June after collapsing during a May workout this past offseason, claimed that two Terrapins football players were involved in a physical altercation during practice Tuesday. The attorney, Billy Murphy, alleged that the altercation was between a player described as pro-DJ Durkin — a punter recruited from Australia by Durkin “at his last stop” according to Murphy — and a teammate rumored to be a whistleblower.
“[The Pro-Durkin player] walked up to this young player… and he punched him viciously in the face,” Murphy said in the interview, not mentioning any player involved by name. Per the attorney, the alleged victim of the aggression, also believed to be a punter, received stitches “on the premises” and also underwent an MRI for a separated shoulder suffered in the incident.
On the Terrapins’ football roster posted online, there are three punters listed: Matt Barber, Wade Lees and Bentley Faulkner. Barber is a senior, Lees is from Melbourne, Australia, and Faulkner is a freshman.
The video of the interview, which also includes McNair’s father, appears below.
The family of Jordan McNair, the freshman football player who died of heatstroke after practice, reacts to head football coach DJ Durkin’s dismissal from the University of Maryland. https://on.wusa9.com/2RpZE4N
Posted by WUSA 9 on Wednesday, October 31, 2018
In a statement, athletic director Damon Evans addressed the alleged incident.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for our football student-athletes,” Evans said. “However, we take any matters involving physical altercations extremely seriously. We are talking with the players involved and will take appropriate actions based on the facts.”
Tuesday, the day of the teammate-on-teammate brouhaha, was the same day that Durkin was reinstated and returned to practice. Murphy claimed that the incident occurred within two hours of Durkin’s reinstatement, and the alleged aggressor “obviously felt empowered to act that way because of the coach’s return.”
The next day, and amidst an avalanche of criticism from football players, student groups and high-ranking government officials, U of M, College Park president Wallace Loh announced that Durkin had been dismissed as the Terrapins head football coach.
“It was the right decision for the university and football program moving forward,” McNair’s roommate, Johnny Jordan, told ESPN.com. “I’m not really playing for a head coach. I’m playing for the guy upstairs, who we dedicated this season to, I’ve dedicated my career and life to.”