COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland is continuing their investigation into the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair. McNair was hospitalized after a team workout on May 29 and died on June 13.
Since then allegations of a toxic culture within the football program have surfaced and claims that Terrapins coach DJ Durkin and his staff mistreated players have been reported. Durkin has since been placed on administrative leave, a decision supported by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Billy Murphy, attorney for the McNair family who has has called for Durkin to be fired, spoke with FOX 5 on Tuesday and says the team failed to properly react after Jordan fell ill on the practice field. He said Durkin "stood idly by" while he exhibited heat stroke symptoms and says there is an "unexplained hour" between 5 p.m., when the incident began, and 6 p.m. when 911 was called, that has not been made clear.
Murphy told FOX 5 that numerous witnesses that he spoke with have corroborated the ESPN story that quoted unidentified players, former players and former Durkin staff members accusing Durkin and strength and conditioning coach Rick Court of verbally abusing and humiliating players. "Wallace Loh has been a good president of the university and I'm hesitant to put the blame for what happened on the athletic field on his shoulders," Murphy said. "On the other hand, the coaching staff has a toxic culture where the players were verbally, and sometimes physically, abused because of what was going on in practice."
Murphy said the Prince George's County State's Attorney would determine if a criminal case against Durkin should be made. "But a case could be made that this was a grossly negligent homicide. Where there was an indifference to human life. Where nobody really gave a damn for this kid and instead ignored his symptoms, ignored the fundamental characteristics of heat stroke and did an overall awful job in attempting to help him," Murphy told us.
The attorney said he and the family will be in a better position to move forward with a possible lawsuit when they have all of the relevant facts and can review the findings of the university's investigation.
"In the beginning, the coaching staff came out with a false cover story," Murphy said. "They have been noticeably silent since then and the coach has been suspended. That's a good sign that all is not well with the version that was originally put out by the University of Maryland."
When asked, he told FOX 5 that any rumors of McNair having a pre-condition that could have led to his death were untrue. "There's no evidence of any of that," he said. "When you have high profile cases, rumors start that appear to be factually based which turn out not to be, and that's the case here." He continued by saying those types of rumors usually come from people who don't know the facts. "When you look at the facts here, the university's behavior in responding to the obvious symptoms of heat stroke was reprehensible. Those rumors have no basis in fact."
FOX 5 has contacted numerous members of the University of Maryland to request they appear on our newscasts. We have received no response at this time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report