COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Two former Maryland football players have each reached $200,000 settlements in lawsuits accusing former coach DJ Durkin of running a program that subjected athletes to an abusive environment.
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office reached the agreement with former players Gus Little and E.J. Donahue, signed Nov. 27 according to settlement documents.
Earlier this year, the school had reached a $3.5 million settlement with the parents of football player Jordan McNair, who died of heatstroke following a 2018 workout. The death prompted an investigation into the details of McNair’s treatment on the day he collapsed, and eventually led to the firing of Durkin after accepting the resignation of strength and conditioning coach Rick Court.
Little and Donahue, who discussed their experiences with The Washington Post, later filed a lawsuit against the school in August 2019 naming Durkin, Court and former head trainer Wes Robinson as defendants.
The complaint alleged Durkin created a “toxic culture of cruelty, humiliation, (and) degradation.” The players said they had experienced issues such as anxiety and depression.
Malcolm Ruff, one of the Baltimore-based lawyers who represented the former players, told the Post the takeaway is “providing real change and real consequences for fostering a culture” in the academic setting.
“There should be more oversight, and there should be absolutely no way that this type of a culture should ever be able to be established and perpetuated against student-athletes,” Ruff said.
Maryland team spokesman Dustin Semonavick didn't respond to an email to The Associated Press for comment, while Maryland attorney general's office communications director Raquel Coombs declined comment beyond the settlement documents.
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