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DJ Durkin should be fired as Maryland football coach, Jordan McNair’s father says

University of Maryland president said Aug. 14 that the school accepts "legal and moral responsibility" for the decisions made by its athletic training staff. (Video: Reuters)
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Jordan McNair’s father said DJ Durkin should be fired as football coach at Maryland.

“He shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid,” Martin McNair said during an appearance on “Good Morning America” on Thursday with Jordan McNair’s mother, Tonya Wilson. “You send your kid away to college for them to be developed into young people, and that’s physically, emotionally, spiritually.”

McNair, a 19-year-old offensive lineman, suffered heatstroke during a team workout in May and died June 13. Durkin and two athletic trainers are on administrative leave while university-ordered investigations into McNair’s death and the football program are being conducted. Rick Court, the team’s head strength and conditioning coach, resigned Monday.

On Tuesday, Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said “the university accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made.” McNair’s temperature was not taken, and the training staff did not perform cold-water immersion after he exhibited signs of heatstroke.

Martin McNair said on “Good Morning America” that parents entrust university staff with their children’s safety when they send them to college. “And they did anything but that, so of course [Durkin] should be fired,” McNair said.

Martin McNair said he thought his son was having a seizure based on an initial call he received, and that it was “kind of hard to understand or wrap our minds around the severity of a heatstroke.” He said his son hadn’t been to the hospital since he was born.

An ESPN report last week described the Maryland football culture as toxic and depicted an environment “based on fear and humiliation.” Wilson said that if the report is true, that culture played a role in her son’s death.

“Jordan was the type of person that would give his all, he would give his best because someone asked him to do something,” she said. “He would always give his all, and he wouldn’t have stopped. He wouldn’t stop. If that’s the culture, then he didn’t want to be called these names and things that they say that they’ve been called.”

Hassan Murphy, the family’s Baltimore-based attorney who appeared with McNair’s parents, said, “There’s no doubt that there was a toxic culture there, and the toxic culture is what led to them to push Jordan beyond what his body could tolerate.”

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