COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The fallout at the University of Maryland continues after head football coach DJ Durkin was placed on administrative leave following the death of player Jordan McNair.
While Durkin has been placed on leave, lawyers for McNair's family held a press conference on Monday demanding the coach be fired immediately.
The call for Durkin’s firing comes after a bombshell report from ESPN that alleged an abusive and toxic football culture at the university. On Friday, school officials announced three members of the Maryland football staff had been placed on paid administrative leave, including strength and conditioning coach Rick Court. The following day, Durkin was also placed on paid administrative leave.
Billy Murphy, an attorney representing the McNair family, said placing the staff on leave strengthens the family's position that McNair’s death was entirely preventable and the result of a toxic culture within the program.
"It’s an absurd argument by people that don’t understand how dangerous heat stroke is and are willing to excuse football programs from not properly taking it into account and reacting to it immediately. This is a serious health problem,” Murphy said.
Attorneys said the University of Maryland Medical Center performed an autopsy on McNair following his death on June 13, two weeks after the 19-year-old collapsed during practice and showed obvious signs of heat stroke.
“There was a point halfway through the sprints where it became visible to the other witnesses that Jordan was struggling and suffering from exhaustion. It became apparent around the eighth or ninth sprint that he was not in good health and that he was suffering severely and visibly in distress. On the last sprint, he was not able to actually be in a sprint. He was in a walk or jog at best,” Malcolm Ruff, an attorney representing the McNair family explained. “Two of his teammates came back after finishing their wind sprints to help him finish his own sprint. At the end of that 110-yard run, he went down on his butt. He was treated by assistant trainers but then he was lifted back to his feet, the trainers actually placed his arms over their shoulders and he was walked over 100 yards diagonally away from the training room where all the resources would have been."
FOX 5 spoke to McNair’s father off camera on Monday and he said his only goal was to turn his pain into purpose so this doesn’t happen to another family. Meanwhile, attorneys representing the McNair family said they were weighing all their legal options.