The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

University of Maryland Neglect Kills a Freshman Player

Sep 3, 2018

Jordan McNair, 19-year-old freshman offensive tackle on the University of Maryland football team, suddenly collapsed with convulsions after sprinting up and down the field nearly ten times in 80-degree heat on May 29. Yelling “Drag his ass across the field,” the head trainer had him taken off the field.

Only after an hour, when McNair was still hyperventilating, did someone call 911.

If the department had soaked him in cold water, he would be alive today. But they didn’t even take his temperature. A hospital later did: 106 degrees, and heat stroke starts two degrees below that.

After two weeks of agony, McNair died.

In the five years since Maryland joined the nationally televised Big Ten conference, its athletic department’s annual income has soared to nearly 100 million dollars. Maryland pays the football coach two and a half million dollars a year.

But as ESPN reported in August, the coaches and trainers put slave-driving pressure on the young players.

A player was forced to overeat until he vomited. A coach threw weights at players to intimidate them and smacked a meal out of another player’s hand. One former staff member said, “I would never, ever, ever allow my child to be coached here.”

Only after ESPN’s report were four coaches and trainers put on administrative (paid) leave.

Money and prestige mean more for this institution than the lives of its student athletes.