By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, syoes@afro.com

Two weeks after Jordan McNair, a sophomore offensive tackle for the University of Maryland collapsed during a team workout in May, he died after suffering a heatstroke.

Nothing can bring back McNair, the 19-year-old beloved son of Tonya Wilson and Marty McNair. But, perhaps yesterday’s decision by the University of Maryland to reverse course and fire UM football coach D.J. Durkin for his role in their son’s death may help them feel some sense of comfort or justice.

In a reversal, the University of Maryland decided to fire UM football coach D.J. Durkin for his role in the death of sophomore offensive lineman Jordan McNair in May. (Photo: Facebook)

Durkin, who had been suspended by the University of Maryland Board of Regents in the wake of McNair’s death, was reinstated on Oct. 30, causing shockwaves of anger among many. However, on Oct. 31, Maryland reversed its original decision and fired the embattled football coach.

“The overwhelming majority of stakeholders expressed serious concerns about coach Durkin…a departure is in the best interest of the university,” said Wallace Loh, University of Maryland President in a statement.

“Relief, surprise, a level of gratitude that the right thing was done, so far,” said Marty McNair, in response to the firing of Durkin during an interview on “Good Morning America,” Nov. 1. “The decision that Dr. Loh made, this is a step in the right direction,” McNair added.

Hassan Murphy, one of the attorneys for Jordan McNair’s parents said their focus will turn to the legacy of their son.

“Our fight now is about getting justice for this family and for Jordan’s name and in his memory,” Murphy said. “Well hopefully, this will mark a change and an end. I think part of why Jordan died was as a result of the culture (within UM athletics). As Jordan was literally in the early stages of death, they were calling him names,” Murphy added.

Marty McNair had a message for all student athletes like his son, in order to prevent another tragedy.

“Know your bodies and to know when your body tells you to stop, stop,” he said. “Because you only have one body and I don’t wish anyone to be in the situation that we’re in right now with Jordan.”

 

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor