Maryland punter who spoke out against DJ Durkin assaulted by teammate after practice
Maryland punter Matthew Barber was assaulted by a teammate after practice on Tuesday, the day that former coach DJ Durkin was briefly reinstated from his leave of absence, according to the Baltimore Sun. Barber was one of the current Terrapins players who spoke out against the culture within the program.
“We take any matters involving physical altercations extremely seriously,” athletic director Damon Evans said. “We are talking with the players involved and will take appropriate actions based on the facts.”
Barber was reportedly one of the current players who spoke to investigators about the state of the program, which gave pro-Durkin players the opportunity to call out those on the other side for the brief 24 hours that Durkin was reinstated. After practice on Tuesday, Barber says the unnamed player initiated the altercation and other players held Barber’s arms as the attack continued.
“My jersey was bloody,” Barber told the Baltimore Sun. “I had blood all over my hands.”
The incident allegedly occurred the same day that multiple Maryland players walked out of a team meeting in which Durkin told the players that he was reinstated. It’s unclear if Barber was one of those players, but it does backup the reports of discord in the locker room among Terrapins players.
Durkin was fired on Wednesday after a lengthy investigation that was initiated by the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair in June. Since that time, a culture of fear that included mistreatment of players in a variety of ways including workouts that went above and beyond, lack of oversight by Durkin over former strength and conditioning coach Rick Court and embarrassing players.
Maryland president Wallace Loh commented on the change of heart on Durkin’s status as head coach in a statement Wednesday.
“Since returning to campus after yesterday’s press conference, I have met with the leadership of the Student Government Association speaking on behalf of numerous student organizations; the Senate Executive Committee; Deans; department chairs; and campus leadership. The overwhelming majority of stakeholders expressed serious concerns about Coach D.J. Durkin returning to the campus,” Loh said in the statement.
Maryland hosts Michigan State Saturday in College Park.
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