- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 11, 2018

Ben Jealous, the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, has called on the University of Maryland to suspend athletic director Damon Evans and head football coach D.J. Durkin in light of an ESPN report published Friday night.

“For there to be reports of purposefully unsafe conditioning practices built on the foundation of verbal abuse, fear, and humiliation—even after the death of a teenager in their care—is the definition of inexcusable,” Mr. Jealous wrote in a series of three tweets.

ESPN reported allegations of a “toxic culture” in Maryland’s football program that included excessive verbal abuse, a coach purposely throwing small weights in the direction of players and the “punitive” use of food for players who were overweight or underweight. The story followed the tragic death of football player Jordan in June, who was allegedly not cared for properly in the events leading up to his death.

After the Maryland athletic department placed Durkin on leave Saturday afternoon, Gov. Larry Hogan released a statement in support of the decision.

“In light of deeply troubling reports about the University of Maryland football program’s training practices and general culture, I support the university’s decision to suspend Coach DJ Durkin, and expect that the investigation into the program will be wide-ranging and thorough,” Mr. Hogan wrote. “We must have complete confidence that our student athletes are treated with dignity and respect and that they are supervised and coached responsibly.

“If the investigation confirms these reports, then strong and permanent corrective actions should be taken immediately.”

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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