Maryland Parents Fighting Against Abusive Ex-Football Coach DJ Durkin’s Reinstatement
Durkin’s status with the team is still unclear but at least half a dozen parents have anonymously expressed their disapproval of Durkin returning to the team.
“We’re terrified,” one parent told The Athletic. “We feel like we’re alone. I said to (another parent), ‘Honey, you and I, we are the resistance. This son of a b— is not coming back.’ I don’t care what we have to do. He’s not coming back to hurt our babies or anyone else’s baby, period. He will not.”
On August 11, Durkin was placed on paid administrative leave. The move came after a school investigation into the June 13 death of an offensive lineman. During the investigation, the school found that Durkin had bred a “toxic culture” including name-calling, abuse, and bullying.
The group of parents said that the players aren’t fearful under interim coach Matt Canada as they were when Durkin was leading the team.
“We are worried that this narcissistic sociopath is going to come back,” one parent said. “To me, he should never coach again.”
According to the parents, the abuse within the program wasn’t known until after the death it led to. They also said their sons told them they didn’t want to say anything out of fear that their parents wouldn’t believe them.
“There’s nothing for them to gain by coming forward,” said another parent. “They cannot win. This is a no-win for them. … It’s not just some disgruntled players.”
The group of parents also said that some Maryland parents still support Durkin.
In September, an independent investigation found that Maryland was responsible for the death of lineman Jordan McNair, who died from complications of heatstroke during an offseason workout.
Durkin, 40, is yet to be fired or reinstated.