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John Feinstein: Maryland AD Damon Evans Should Be Fired

November 30, 2018
The Maryland football season is finally over after several months that were marred by the controversy surrounding the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair following a workout in May.  

Of the three-headed leadership group criticized in media reports -- head coach DJ Durkin, university president Wallace Loh and athletic director Damon Evans -- just one is seemingly retaining their job and withstanding the two investigations into the handling of McNair's heatstroke and culture of the program. 

After the results of an external investigation found that he led a chaotic athletic department and didn't monitor the football program, for which he was a liaison, Evans remains in full control of his duties. 

"It's stunning staggering, remarkable, wrong," author and media personality John Feinstein said on Glenn Clark Radio Nov. 16. "I called Damon Evans the cowardly lion because he's always hiding under a rock when it comes to these issues."

On Oct. 30, Loh reinstated Durkin -- who spent two months on paid administrative leave -- after the Maryland Board of Regents advised Durkin keep his coaching job. Public outrage and players speaking out spurred Loh to reverse the decision and fire Durkin the following day

Loh also announced he would step down and retire next June, giving ample time to transition into a new president. Loh accepted "legal and moral responsibility" Aug. 14 for the preventable death of McNair, who died of heatstroke two weeks after collapsing at practice without the necessary treatment to save his life. 

"What I said when the dust finally began to clear is everybody needs to be fired," Feinstein said. "Damon Evans should've been fired the same day as DJ Durkin, if not sooner. I think they both should've been fired on Aug. 14 when Wallace Loh stood up and said, 'We're responsible for the death of Jordan McNair.'"

Evans claimed he didn't know anything about the alleged toxic culture detailed in a scathing Aug. 10 ESPN article that prompted a second investigation in addition to the improper treatment of McNair. 

Even before he became the official athletic director June 25, Evans was the liaison for the football team, something Feinstein believes makes him responsible for knowing everything going on inside the program. 

"He was the overseer of the football program and you cannot tell me he doesn't know what was going on out there," he said. "When Damon Evans stood up there [Aug. 14] and said, 'I'm the new athletic director at the University of Maryland' as if he got there 15 minutes ago and didn't know anything about this … that was it for me." 

Feinstein compared how he believes Maryland should handle Evans' future with his coverage of the Tiger Woods controversy in the 2000s, when he wrote a piece saying everyone who worked for Woods should be fired. 

One of the people he suggested Woods fire was Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, who once confronted Feinstein about his article. His response, Feinstein said, is exactly how people in the Maryland community should feel as long as Evans yields his position as athletic director at the University of Maryland. 

"If you knew what was going on, you should be fired. If you didn't know, you should be fired twice," Feinstein told Steinberg. "That's the way I feel about this [Maryland] situation."

To hear more from Feinstein, listen to the full interview here: 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics