A.J. Barker, the leading receiver for the Minnesota Golden Gophers this year, took to tumblr to announce why he is quitting the football team. This marks the second time in a few weeks that a team’s top receiver has publicly left a team over a dispute with the coaching staff (Marquess Wilson, Washington State).
Barker is a junior walk-on who had 577 yards receiving and was 3rd in the Big Ten in yards per game when he injured his ankle in a game against Purdue a few weeks ago. He has not played since.
Barker’s complaints arise out of verbal abuse and manipulation he alleges against head coach Jerry Kill, arising out of his recovery and treatment for his ankle.
Now, in honor of my family and myself I’m done with you for good. In light of that pathetic, manipulative display of rage and love you put on this past Thursday, I have come to the decision, with the guidance of my parents and my closest friends, that my time on this team has come to an end. It kills me that I have to do this before the season’s over, but this is the only way I can protect myself against the manipulation and abuse I’d have to endure from you the rest of this season.
There’s nothing special about me?
I’m a dime a dozen?
You don’t know what “fucked up things happened to me to screw me up so much as a person”?
My stock fell as a person since I got injured?
You had 5 of me at Northern Illinois?
You say I’ll never earn a scholarship under you? That I don’t deserve one?
A.J. Barker never received a scholarship from Minnesota, and thus is eligible to transfer and play anywhere next year.
Whether this is just a situation where athletes are more able and willing to go public, or whether it is a case where the “old school” mentality of head coaches clashes with current players who expect to be treated differently, situations like Barker seem to be more prevalent today.
[photo via US Presswire]