Maryland football players pressured athletic staff to remove a team booster who made insensitive comments about the death of Jordan McNair from the team’s charter flight to Michigan on Friday, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. The booster is a local attorney in Maryland who decided to place the blame on McNair for dying of a preventable heat stroke rather than the professional staff responsible for monitoring such things.
Per the report:
Rick Jaklitsch, an attorney from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, had been set to travel with the Terrapins football team to Michigan on Friday. But when players saw his name on the passenger manifest, they became outraged, sources said, and told athletics staffers, including Cheryl Harrison, Maryland’s senior associate athletic director and chief development officer. Jaklitsch was informed he wouldn’t be traveling with other boosters and the team.
Jaklitsch’s comments upset many in the program, sources said, and earlier this week players informed football administrative staffers that they didn’t want Jaklitsch around any team activities. But he was still set to travel with the team to Michigan until players again intervened. Passenger manifests for Maryland’s charter flights are set in the summer.
Jaklitsch was one of the boosters interviewed in an Oct. 1 story in The Diamondback who voiced their support for DJ Durkin after the coach was placed on administrative leave in August while the school investigated into McNair’s death and allegations of a “toxic” culture within the program. While the story was filled with quotes from annoying rich assholes, Jaklitsch’s comments were particularly abhorrent.
“As much as we hate to say this, Jordan didn’t do what Jordan was supposed to do,” Jaklitsch said. “A trainer like Wes Robinson thinks a kid’s properly hydrated and runs a drill set up for kids that are properly hydrated, and when the kid didn’t drink the gallon he knew he had to drink, that’s going to send the wrong signal to the person running the drill.”
This is a fucking personal injury lawyer saying this. On top of the fact that this is just a disgusting comment to make, this guy’s job is to get his clients the best possible outcome for injuries suffered at the hands of somebody else. Forget losing his access and travel privileges with the team, this asshole should never be hired for anything ever again!
Obviously this is an incredibly dim light within this terribly dark situation, but credit where credit is due: the players stood up against one of the team’s wealthy boosters to defend the name of their late teammate. That’s got to be worth something.