“Well, its official. I am done playing football for the University of Minnesota and I will be looking to transfer next season for my final yr,” tweeted A.J. Barker, leading wide receiver from Minnesota on Nov. 18th.
Barker quit the football team and did so in a way that will not quickly be forgotten by the college football world. He not only informed the public through Twitter but also wrote a letter to the head coach informing him the reason he chose to quit was because he felt that he was mistreated by the training staff and Coach Kill after attaining an ankle injury in Minnesota’s game against Purdue.
This letter was then posted on Tumblr, a social media website.
The letter was approximately ten pages long and went into detail with dates, names, and exact words said by Coach Kill and the coaching staff. Barker had no shame in calling out everyone involved in the situations that resulted in his decision to quit the team.
“In light of that pathetic, manipulative display of rage and love you put on this past Thursday, I have come to the decision, with the guidance of my parents and my closest friends, that my time on this team has come to an end.”
The letter is filled with degrading insults that Coach Kill allegedly said to Barker during his time on the team. Barker also goes into a detailed recollection of what exactly happened from his perception of how the trainers treated and regarded his injury, and what possibly happens behind the walls of a college athletic facility.
This public display of animosity by a Division I athlete could quickly alter the hierarchy in college athletics, but the reaction of the University of Minnesota and Coach Kill prove otherwise.
The University released a short statement the same night of the letter appearing online. The school stated that Coach Kill tried to reach out to Barker after receiving the email but was “unable to connect with (Barker).”
Instead of the tables being turned and college athletes being given a voice, it seems that they will only be given a minute of attention for putting their reputation on the line. Barker’s attempt at shedding a light on the possibility of coaches belittling their athletes was immediately put in the dark.
It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, but maybe not in a world of shoulder pads and cleats.