Minnesota Golden Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill responded to wide receiver A.J. Barker's allegations of abuse by saying that Barker was not mistreated, but rather he was unable to accept discipline, according to the Associated Press.
Barker quit the Minnesota football team Sunday and released an open letter to Kill in which he outlined the head coach's verbal abuse and manipulation. The excerpt below is Barker's description of the point of contention between him and Kill. Barker writes:
You came over and exploded on me in front of the entire team in our indoor facility. "YOU DON'T F****** GET TO TELL THE TRAINER WHAT YOU DO!" followed by a 20 minute tyraid where you attacked everything about me, from an athlete to my character as a person. I took every word of it replying faithfully "Yes sir. Yes sir. No, sorry sir" and watched as you demeaned me to a point of no return. You took the one thing you had a say in (my football playing career and my future) and you held it against me in an attempt to break me, going as far as to tell me I'll never get a scholarship or see the field again.
In response, Kill said he did nothing more than confront Barker after he felt that his receiver was having a "disruptive conversation" with the trainer. He claims there was no abuse.
''I'm not here to win any popularity contests,'' Kill said, adding he ''doesn't treat our players any differently than I treat my two daughters.''
In his letter, Barker continually points to Kill's "manipulative" ways, saying he was constantly shifting his position from love and motivation to rage and degradation, at some points even insulting his family and his upbringing.
Barker also claimed the team mishandled his ankle injury by not having him undergo an MRI, then rushing him back from the injury, in effect jeopardizing his health and his football career.
Barker, a junior walk-on, broke through this season to become the team's No. 1 wideout, catching 30 passes for 577 yards and seven touchdowns. He has said he will transfer for his senior season.