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Friday, December 14, 2018

Will Muschamp slams ‘gutless’ reporting of Maryland football allegations

Will Muschamp

South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp defended former assistant D.J. Durkin on Saturday, accusing the media of irresponsibly sharing anonymous accounts of alleged “toxic culture” inside the Maryland football program.

Durkin, who served as an assistant on Muschamp’s Florida Gators staff, painted a picture of a culture under Durkin that focused on fear, intimidation, and embarrassing and belittling players. The story relied on anonymous former players and others close to the program, which Muschamp took particular issue with when asked about the story.

“I know D.J. Durkin. He worked for me for four years at the University of Florida. He is an outstanding football coach. He’s also an outstanding husband and a father and he treats people with respect,” Muschamp said. “And I will use your word, alleged article. There’s no credibility in anonymous sources. If that former staffer had any guts, why didn’t he put his name on it? I think that’s gutless. And in any business, and in any company, and in any football team, especially right here in August, you can find a disgruntled player that’s probably not playing. So I think it’s a lack of journalistic integrity to print things with anonymous sources.

“But I know D.J. Durkin personally, and I know what kind of man he is. I know what kind of person he is. I talked to him this morning. And I don’t think it’s right.”

Muschamp’s response misses the mark in so many ways. Responses like this one are a big reason that people aren’t willing to put their name on things like this. It’s not like ESPN’s report was poorly-sourced — it cites “two current Maryland players, multiple people close to the football program, and former players and football staffers.” That’s a lot of people saying similar things. There’s also a Maryland player dead of heat stroke, so Muschamp would probably do well to be a bit less dismissive of such allegations, especially since he chose to address them himself and not as a direct response to a question about them.

The bottom line is, when people don’t like allegations, they attack the reporting. Just look at what’s happening at Ohio State — a situation where everyone involved has put a name to the accusations, but that hasn’t stopped many from being outright dismissive of them.

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