At Maryland, your son will not be in the care of responsible administrators, but rather sneaking infighters and influence peddlers who debase and dirty a university education. Whose combination of arrogance and lethal stupidity has made them a national laughingstock, yet who don’t even realize it. They have nothing to teach a young man except how to disgrace himself in public, and then look in the mirror and see handsome.
Does this description of the College Park salvage yard — I won’t dignify it with the term campus — sound harsh? To the ears of Jordan McNair’s parents, it doesn’t even begin.
A son died at Maryland. He died needlessly from heatstroke, at the age of 19, in the care of a vain football coach named DJ Durkin who demanded “blind trust,” and repaid it with cocksure incompetence. Who failed the quality control of any good high school team. But instead of relieving Durkin from a post for which he is so clearly unfit, Maryland’s fork-tongued regents spent months prevaricating and producing self-contradictory reports, and then buckled under to the money. Instead of firing the donor-pet Durkin, they effectively ousted university president Wallace D. Loh, who was nowhere near the scene of the crime.
It does not matter that Durkin is a passionate coach who was under complicated pressures. It does not matter that Loh and Athletic Director Damon Evans didn’t exercise oversight because they were so distracted by petty feuding. These are not causes. They are excuses.
“There will be no third chance for any of those involved to get this right,” said board chair James T. Brady at a news conference Tuesday.
Third chance? Third chance??? You mean you get a repeat when you kill a player? Someone, please, shake this man by the hair until the cotton falls out of his ears.
Jordan McNair never got his first chance. The regents would like to obfuscate blame for that, would like to behave as if running a large, overweight young man to the point of death in the heat was a tragic accident — as opposed to the entirely predictable outcome of brutality and negligence that it was.
McNair’s parents sent their son to play football at Maryland and expected the coaches to return him home a stronger young man. Instead what they got was a body in a coma, and then a coffin. There is no adequate recompense for that loss. But what was owed to the McNairs, first and foremost, was a statement by the Board of Regents that the loss of their son was entirely unacceptable.
Instead they got a diminution of his death. It doesn’t count. Durkin gets a do-over.
McNair’s father, Marty, felt “like I’ve been punched in the stomach and somebody spit in my face.”
Send your son to Maryland, and they will spit in yours, too. The regents insist that the practices of Durkin and his staff are simply the usual ones in a “big-time football program.” Big time? The panting throne sniffers at Maryland think that because Durkin worked as an assistant at Florida and Michigan, he is big time and can carry them to the top of the Big Ten. Do they see other conference programs that have killed players by over-stressing them in the heat lately?
Don’t send your son to Maryland. Don’t, because no one in the administration of that reeking junk heap knows what class, or excellence, or winning, or big time really is. They don’t know jack-all about real success. And they certainly don’t know how to put your son’s health ahead of their own oily self-interest. They don’t know how to value a young life, much less how to build a better team. They lack even the most basic morals or hint of backbone.
The irony is that they have turned the team they were so eager to preserve into a smoking ruin. There is a timeless axiom in sports: No one will play for a fraud. They will play for a recruiting cheat. They will play for a mean SOB. But they won’t play for a faker. They won’t give that last great measure of a commitment to a bogus, counterfeit imitation of a leader. Hence, no one will play for this program.
The players on the current roster know what really happened, and who was responsible, where the holes and evasions in those “reports” lie. They know who the unaccountable phonies and profiles in uncourage are, and how hollow Durkin’s platitudes are. The walkouts during Durkin’s first team meeting were just the boldest acts, the surface reflection of what boils underneath: the righteous refusal to give him their “blind trust” ever again.