Embattled Maryland president Wallace D. Loh received support from an unexpected source, Jordan McNair’s father.
The statement came Monday night, a little less than a week after Loh said that the university would accept all “legal and moral responsibility” for the death of the 19-year-old offensive lineman from Randallstown. Jordan McNair died June 13, a little over two weeks after suffering from heatstroke during a team conditioning test in College Park.
In a statement given to ESPN and released by Hassan Murphy, managing partner for the law firm of Murphy, Falcon and Murphy, Martin McNair said: “We have heard rumblings that Dr. Loh is under fire at the university because of his statements accepting responsibility, on behalf of the university, for Jordan’s death.
“It would be a complete shame if, after such a display of decency and humanity, Dr. Loh were to be let go. Decency and transparency are the only path forward for our family, the university, and its sports programs to heal and emerge as safe places for families to entrust their children.”
McNair added that it was “critical” for Loh to stay in power for that to happen.
There are two ongoing investigations at Maryland.
The first, conducted by Walters Inc., a South Carolina-based medical consulting firm, is examining the circumstances surrounding McNair’s death and is expected to be finished Sept. 15. The second, by a four-person commission hired last week to investigate an explosive story by ESPN that labeled the environment surrounding the football team’s “toxic culture,” could be done even sooner based on Loh’s statement at a news conference he and athletic director Damon Evans held last week.
Many media outlets, as well as some prominent boosters, have called for Loh and Evans, as well as third-year coach DJ Durkin,a former Michigan assistant, to be fired. McNair and his wife, Tonya, went on “Good Morning America” last week and called for Durkin’s dismissal. Durkin is on administrative leave.
Reacting to McNair’s comment, former Maryland and NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason said on his nationally syndicated radio Tuesday that both Loh and Evans should exit.
“As a Maryland alumnus, the heartbreak that I share over the McNair’s family tragedy has only been compounded by my disgust with the shameful lack of leadership displayed by university president Wallace Loh and athletic director Damon Evans,” he said. “Last week they finally accepted moral and legal responsibility for McNair’s death. Why did it take them two and a half months for them to do the right thing?