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Ben Jealous, gubernatorial candidate, calls for Maryland to suspend Durkin, Evans

August 11, 2018

Ben Jealous, the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, has called on the University of Maryland to suspend athletic director Damon Evans and head football coach D.J. Durkin in light of an ESPN report published Friday night.

“For there to be reports of purposefully unsafe conditioning practices built on the foundation of verbal abuse, fear, and humiliationeven after the death of a teenager in their careis the definition of inexcusable,” Mr. Jealous wrote in a series of three tweets.

ESPN reported allegations of a “toxic culture” in Maryland’s football program that included excessive verbal abuse, a coach purposely throwing small weights in the direction of players and the “punitive” use of food for players who were overweight or underweight. The story followed the tragic death of football player Jordan in June, who was allegedly not cared for properly in the events leading up to his death.

The athletics director and the head coach are ultimately responsible for ensuring the safety of our student athletes. The University of Maryland should immediately suspend Damon Evans and D.J. Durkin until that investigation is complete. https://t.co/NLMl6iclOu Ben Jealous for Governor (MD) (@BenJealous) August 11, 2018

For there to be reports of purposefully unsafe conditioning practices built on the foundation of verbal abuse, fear, and humiliationeven after the death of a teenager in their careis the definition of inexcusable. Ben Jealous for Governor (MD) (@BenJealous) August 11, 2018

The university has taken the right step of hiring an outside, independent investigator to find out exactly what is going on in the football program. But we cannot afford to leave the current leadership in place while that investigation is ongoing. Ben Jealous for Governor (MD) (@BenJealous) August 11, 2018

Mr. Jealous, a former president and CEO of the NAACP, is challenging incumbent Republican Larry Hogan for governor in Maryland in November’s election. As of this writing, Mr. Hogan has not publicly addressed the university’s scandal.

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