There is a general belief that coaches are heroes. We see them as stoic, disciplined people who love the game and do all they can to get results. We believe that they spend long hours at practice, drawing up game plans and recruiting people. Coaches make good money, but we justify the money they make by talking about how they are really interested in making young players better. We see them as people who have sacrificed a lot for the game.
This is why we excuse a lot of coaches even when they make poor decisions that hurt their players and other people. Sometimes, these coaches go way above the norm and do things that are wrong. But we fail to see them as bad people because we have this image of coaches as good people. This provides them with a form of protection and power that lets them manipulate and abuse the young players under their control.
The head coach of the University of Maryland football team, D.J. Durkin oversaw a tragedy during his tenure. In May, Jordan McNair, a 19-year-old offensive linesman collapsed during a practice session offseason. But, it took over 90 minutes for Jordan to get to the hospital after he collapsed. 2 weeks later, Jordan McNair died from the incident.
Two external investigations took about 5 months to be completed. One of the investigations revealed that the players feared to speak out due to the internal culture of the team. The report also wrote that investigators believed that Durkin was really concerned about the welfare of his team members.
But some team members never wanted Durkin to return to the team again, and some former players even went as far as saying that Durkin should never be allowed to coach again. The Board of Regents didn’t want Durkin to leave, and they even threatened the University President if Durkin was fired. Also, they did not want to punish the trainers that were under Durkin.
It wasn’t as if Durkin was a winner that they wanted to retain. In fact, Durkin had won 10 games and lost 15 games. Yet Durkin was reinstated as the head football coach when the investigation was completed.
But protests were held immediately, and the governor of Maryland, students, the media, University alumni and even members of his team protested. Durkin was eventually fired, and two of the trainers were also fired. The strength and conditioning coach, Rick Court who was in charge of the training session had already resigned.
This is a start, and we must know that there are other coaches that are also protected the same way Durkin was. We must realize that not all coaches are heroes.
The same also goes to doctors, priests and members of the military. Stop favoring people who already have money and power. Stop protecting them when they commit misdeeds. They are people like us that deserve to be punished for their misdeeds, and they should never be protected.