COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — For the first time, University of Maryland football players are talking about the rumors and investigations surrounding their team. Some of them are defending head coach DJ Durkin but still confirming some of the allegations made in an explosive ESPN article 10 days ago.
After more than a week of swirling rumors, UMD football players are going on the record.
[Reporter: Have you ever seen or experienced a coach verbally belittling a player?”]
“Yeah, I mean that happens,” said defensive tackle Oseh Saine.
In an exclusive interview with CBS affiliate WUSA9, Saine confirmed rumors of a player forced to eat candy bars at a team workout.
“That did happen, yeah. You know, I saw that happen. But I mean, it is what it is, you know. I believe in their minds, it was their way of motivating him to work towards the right direction,” he said.
It’s one of many concerning allegations that sparked an investigation into the purported mistreatment of players by football staff.
Four football staff members are still on leave.
Still, Siane and punter Wade Leesare defend their coach.
“These accusations are false. I really hope that coach Durkin does come back and coach us, because he deserves to and he’s laid the foundation, he’s done all the hard work to get us to where we are, and we’re so close from succeeding,” Leesare said.
Players’ parents are coming to the team’s defense, too, speaking after an emotional Saturday morning meeting with university officials.
“When the ESPN thing came out, I’m sorry to say, I was kind of upset with it because this program is not toxic. We’ve gotten tight as a family and I think it’s going to continue to be that way,” said Darryl Turner, father of DJ Turner.
With an investigation into the team’s culture just beginning, both parents and students will get their chance to speak out to a national committee.
Friday, University System of Maryland Board of Regents took over the investigation into team culture at the school and the investigation into the death of Jordan McNair.