Josh Kendall

‘A tragic situation’: Will Muschamp addresses comments on Maryland controversy

On Monday, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp clarified comments he made Saturday about a controversy involving Maryland’s football program.

“First of all, my thoughts and prayers are with the McNair family (on the death of Maryland player Jordan McNair),” Muschamp said when asked about his Saturday comments. “I can’t imagine as a father losing a son. It is a horrific situation, a tragic situation. I don’t know what else to say. I was talking about (Maryland head coach) DJ Durkin, a man I know very well. I know him as a coach, as a husband and as a father. I find it hard to believe some of the things I read in that article about DJ Durkin, and I’ll leave it at that.”

On Saturday, Muschamp came to the defense of Durkin, who was Muschamp’s defensive coordinator at Florida, without being directly asked about the allegations leveled against Durkin’s program. Maryland football developed a “toxic culture” under Durkin, according to an investigation by ESPN which began after McNair’s death following an offseason football workout. Much of the reporting in the story was based on anonymous sources.

“There is no credibility in anonymous sources,” Muschamp said Saturday. “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.”

Those comments have been widely criticized since he made them. On Monday, SEC Network host Paul Finebaum weighed in and questioned Muschamp’s judgment.

“You’re talking about a serious situation (at Maryland) just like we are at Ohio State,” Finebaum said on radio station WJOX in Birmingham, Ala. “Unfortunately, in this case, we’ve seen someone die. I think that makes it more complex, and the fact that Will Muschamp stood up for him is magnanimous on Will Muschamp’s part out of friendship, but I was really dumbfounded by his logic and his reasoning. Maybe it comes after me being in journalism all my life, but for him to attack anonymous sources, it’s purely being tone-deaf. That’s unfortunately or fortunately the way the business works, and presidents have been overthrown because of anonymous sources. It doesn’t make every anonymous source right, but in this case, I think Will Muschamp was ill-advised to stand up for his friend. This was the wrong time to do it.”

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