South Carolina’s Will Muschamp passionately defended his former defensive coordinator DJ Durkin this morning in the wake of an ESPN report which paints the picture of a “toxic culture” surrounding Maryland football.
Durkin, who served under Muschamp from 2011-2014 at Florida, is currently the head coach of the Terrapins. The report comes a few months after offensive lineman Jordan McNair died following a workout. Like some investigative reporting, it relies on unnamed sources — specifically “two current Maryland players, multiple people close to the football program, and former players and football staffers.”
“There is no credibility in anonymous sources,” he said. “If that former staffer had any guts, why didn’t he put his name on that? I think that’s gutless. In any football team, especially right here in August, you can find a disgruntled player that’s probably not playing. I think it’s a lack of journalistic integrity to print things with anonymous sources. I know DJ Durkin personally. I know what kind of man he is. I know what kind of person he is. I don’t think it’s right. Next question.”
Muschamp’s desire to defend his friend is understandable. Painting him as a decent human being is what you’d expect a friend to do. But to focus vitriol on the whistleblowers instead of their warnings, especially after a player’s death, shows an incredible lack of understanding about both what’s important here and how journalists gather information.
These sources aren’t leaking to the press about trivial issues, like discord between special teams players or locker room frustration with a coach’s fourth-down decision-making. They are speaking on a serious matter in the hopes of enacting positive change and, one figures, insure that there isn’t another tragic incident.
Muschamp’s claim that there’s no credibility in anonymous sources is also laughable. Watergate and countless other examples suggest he either has been paying zero attention or is so blinded by his relationship with Durkin that he isn’t thinking straight.