With one game remaining on the regular season schedule, Minnesota Golden Gophers wide receiver A.J. Barker has quit the team, sending a lengthy, scathing letter to head coach Jerry Kill that Barker also posted on his tumblr account. In the letter, the walk-on junior, who leads the team in receiving this year, accuses Kill of a year of mental abuse, including the use of a gay slur by an assistant:
But don’t be confused by this explanation into thinking this is a quick/irrational decision based solely around Thursday’s event. Last spring before the spring game I was called a faggot for my spiritual views by Coach Reeves where other players on the team heard him say it.
Barker explained on Twitter that he is Atheist, which on many college football teams is even worse than being gay.
When asked about some of the things Barker accuses Kill and the coaching staff of saying, Kill says he can't recall because there are, essentially, so many cooks in the kitchen. But somehow Kill knows that no coach has ever used a gay slur, as he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Golden Gophers are bowl-eligible at 6-5, heading into their game this weekend against Michigan State.
It's unfortunate a head coach would make any player feel so badly about himself, saying the things Kill said to Barker. It's good to see Barker not backing down from his tirade; These coaches need to be knocked down a peg. If you have some time over the long weekend, be sure to check out Barker's letter to his now-former coach. It's worth the read.