The brief reinstatement of DJ Durkin as head coach of the Maryland Terrapins was met with mix reviews, including inside the team’s locker room. The tensional situation led to a fight breaking out among players during Tuesday’s practice, according to Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun.
Matthew Barber, a 21-year old backup punter, says an unnamed player assaulted him. Barber has been vocal speaking out against the program’s culture. He claims that supporters of Durkin believe he was the “whistle blower” of the ESPN report about the team’s “toxic” culture that sparked an investigation into the allegations and led to Durkin initially being placed on administrative leave. Barber says multiple players grabbed his arms behind his back while another player repeatedly punched him in the face.
Barber says he suffered a black eye, dislocated shoulder and he needed multiple stitches.
“My jersey was bloody,” Barber told the Sun. “I had blood all over my hands.”
While the aggressor of the matter has not been officially named, Bill Murphy, the attorney for the family of Jordan McNair — the player who died in June after collapsing during a May workout with the team, insinuated that the aggressor in the altercation was starting punter and Australian native Wade Lees.
“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,” Maryland athletic director Damon Evans said in a statement of the alleged incident.
Durkin was later fired Wednesday by the school against the recommendation of the Maryland Board of Regents. There was a tremendous level of backlash that ensued the reinstatement of Durkin the day prior, including governor Larry Hogan voicing his concerns for the board’s decision to bring back Durkin.