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Before and after his firing, Maryland players spoke out against DJ Durkin

A few left a team meeting after Durkin’s reinstatement Tuesday. Several tweeted their displeasure then and rejoiced after his firing Wednesday.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Texas John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, Maryland briefly reinstated suspended head coach DJ Durkin, before firing him Wednesday under significant public pressure.

Durkin was suspended through the first eight games of the season following the school’s investigation into the death of former Terps offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who fell ill at a team workout on May 29 and died June 13.

After Durkin’s reinstatement but before his firing, a group of active Terrapin players spoke out against the decision.

It was reported that when Durkin addressed the team after he was reinstated, several players walked out of the meeting. From Maryland blog Testudo Times:

Several players walked out of that meeting, according to ESPN and The Washington Post. The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach was first to report the number as three.

InsideMdSports’ Jeff Ermann said one of the players to walk out, Ellis McKennie, returned to practice.

McKennie, a redshirt junior offensive lineman, posted this to Twitter not long after:

And several other players shared sentiments similar to McKennie’s.

Senior linebacker Tre Watson:

Junior defensive tackle Adam McLean:

Freshman receiver Michael Cornwell:

Freshman offensive lineman Tyran Hunt:

After Durkin’s firing came down on Wednesday, that same group of players celebrated the news.





And offensive lineman Johnny Jordan, who was McNair’s roommate and a pallbearer at his funeral:

There wasn’t one consensus about Durkin’s program from Maryland’s players.

While Maryland’s investigation looked into the death and handling of McNair’s health during the summer workout, it also looked into an ESPN report from August of a “toxic culture” in place under Durkin. Maryland’s investigation found it was a culture “where problems festered because too many players feared speaking out.”

Many did speak out to the school’s investigators, who wrote in their report: “As with virtually every question we posed to the stakeholders in the football program, our questions about the program’s culture elicited a broad spectrum of views.”

For instance, one current player told the commission:

“It is a somewhat a toxic culture. It is an alpha male one. And if you don’t buy in to what they are saying they find a way to weave you out. They use humiliation and talk down to players. Some coaches are good though and show the players mutual respect.”

And another said:

“It’s been toxic because everyone was new and didn’t know how to run a program but it has gotten better over the years.”

And another player who played for Durkin said:

“[The culture was] miserable. I was very miserable the whole time. I was depressed, tired, and most importantly, I hated football. I felt like all the other players hated it as much as me. I felt like several position coaches hated it as well. No one was enjoying it for the two seasons I was here under Durkin it seemed like.”

Now this era of Maryland football is over.