DJ Durkin

USA Today

Maryland Does Not Give A Damn

DJ Durkin is not the victim here. Jordan McNair was the victim.

October 31, 2018 - 11:19 am

There is news from the University of Maryland football program. And that news is they just flat out don’t give a damn. No matter what is reported, what is said, what they know, or what they hear, they don’t give a damn. They made that abundantly clear with that disastrous press conference yesterday. 

Technically, their press conference was to announce that head football coach DJ Durkin would be staying on as head coach, but really, it was to announce that Maryland football, the University of Maryland, and the Maryland Board of Regents don’t give a damn.   They have no shame. They have no compassion. They have no heart. They have no soul. They have nothing. They are empty. Morally and ethically bankrupt.

Jordan McNair is gone. He was just 19 when he died. Died a preventable death. That should have never happened. But it did. And it did on DJ Durkin’s watch. And it happened, because McNair was struggling for breath and ultimately his life and trainers ignored it, or saw it and didn’t give a damn, but they clearly didn’t give him the help he needed until it was much too late. But the program and the university really didn’t give a damn then, and they really don’t give a damn now. 

What makes me say that? 

I give you Maryland Board of Regents chairman Jim Brady, who said: “We believe that Coach Durkin has been unfairly blamed for the dysfunction in the athletic department. And while he shares some responsibility, it is not fair to place all of it at his feet.”

I’m sorry, did Jim Brady just say that Coach Durkin has been “unfairly blamed” and that it’s “not fair” to hold him accountable!?!? A few short months after the death of Jordan McNair, did you really say that Coach Durkin is the victim here? 

What the hell is wrong with you, Jim? 

DJ Durkin is not the victim here. Jordan McNair was the victim. Jordan McNair’s parents are the victims here. They’re the ones who lost a son. Jordan McNair’s friends and teammates lost a brother. They are victims as well and now they have to welcome back the guy who ran the program that oversaw his death?

There are plenty of people who have suffered incredible pain as a result of all of this, there are victims here: Jordan McNair. Jordan McNair’s family. Everyone who loved Jordan McNair. But one person who is not a victim is DJ Durkin. The fact that anyone, much less their board of regents thinks so, is one of the most deplorable things I’ve ever heard. A 19-year old kid is dead, but the coach who oversaw the culture which produced that is the victim? One of the worst takes ever. 

For the record, Durkin came on the show in the past and he came off well. He did a good interview. He seemed like a nice guy. But he’s a terrible football coach. You can look at his record if you want, but I’ll just go by the fact that he clearly cannot run a football program. There’s a report the size of a novel that can tell you that. 

But sure, go ahead, Jim Brady, make sure everyone knows that DJ Durkin is the really victim here. And that he’s been unfairly blamed for the entirely preventable death of a player. He’s been unfairly blamed for a toxic culture in the program that he’s supposed to run. He’s been unfairly blamed for making his first hire a guy who threw weights at players, berated them, threw a garbage can of vomit at them. That the program wasn’t sadistic, it was just intense.  That those video sessions during meals of drills going into eye balls, and serial killers and animals eating other animals were designed to increase mental toughness, and grit; that it’s not sick and twisted.  That the rest of just don’t get it.  That that’s Durkin’s process; and it’s a damn good one; and that you just have to trust the process: and that if you don’t start every morning by seeing a drill go into someone’s eyes, or honor a serial killer like Jeffrey Dahmer, you obviously just don’t want it badly enough.  Isn’t’ that right, Brady?   

Maybe you ARE on to something: maybe, it’s not fair to DJ Durkin to go through all of this.  What did this guy ever do besides have some kid die on his watch and make all his teammates watch eyeballs get drilled out of dude’s heads. 

After seeing that press conference and hearing that decision, I just have one question for the people who are calling the shots at Maryland: are you morons or are you cowards? 

Because only a moron or a coward would retain a head coach after all of the evidence that we’ve seen. Only someone who had absolutely no soul would do this. 

Don’t take my word for it, listen to Martin McNair, father of Jordan McNair who spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since August and said “I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach and someone spit in my face.”

The fact that this was even a discussion, that Durkin had not already been fired, and that the eight person commission that looked into the football program worked so hard to say that it wasn’t toxic, even when it presented a mountain of evidence that it was toxic, told you this was coming.

Look, I get it. The business of college football is scummy. And when you peek behind the curtain, you get to see the sausage getting made and it’s disgusting. 

Ohio State retaining Urban Meyer after everything that went down was revolting But in a very cold world, one with absolutely no standards or morals, it makes sense. He’s won a lot of football games for them; and made a lot of money for them; and they’re going to choose football and money over integrity and standards every time.

But For Maryland to do this, I don’t know what they’re choosing. You go to bat for a coach who’s had a player die during practice, a coach whose right hand man was throwing weights at players, fat-shaming them, and berating them with slurs, a coach who was showing players videos of drills going into eyeballs and serial killers while they were eating, and that coach better damn well be worth it. 

He better be Bill Belichick, Bill Walsh, and Bill Parcells all rolled into one. But I’m not even sure DJ Durkin is Bruce Coslet or Brady Hoke.

He’s 10-15. The interim coach this season is 5-3. They got better when Durkin wasn’t there. Never mind the fact that there’s no way that he’ll be able to recruit. There’s no way he’ll be able to go into someone’s living room, look a parent in the eye and say, I’ll take care of your son. 

Maryland is such a mess right now that the fact that this hurts recruiting doesn’t even crack the top 50 of issues facing them. 

There were so many different options for Maryland here and they battled and fought their way to take the worst possible option. For who? For what? So you can compete in the Big Ten? You just sold out for a coach who loses 60 percent of his games. 

Or was it so that they wouldn’t have to pay his buyout and the buyout of the athletic director who oversaw this disaster? Because if that’s the case, apparently we’ve found the cost of Maryland’s integrity and it’s not that high. 

There are multiple reports of multiple players walking out of the team meeting with DJ Durkin yesterday. Good for them. 

But tell me again, how Durkin is the victim; how he’s been treated unfairly.  . He still has his job. So does the athletic director. So does the university president. And the fact is, they just don’t give a damn.  Not about their players and most of all not about a 19 year old who died.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t have brought the coach back who had it happen on his watch and try convince the world that he’s the one that has been wronged here.  Maryland could have handled one of the worst situation ever any worse than they did.  And if it sounds like I’m pissed, it’s because I am.  And so should everyone else.