Leading Gopher wide receiver, A.J. Barker, has left the team short of the conclusion to the season due to allegations against coach Jerry Kill of abuse and withholding medical information regarding Barker’s injured ankle.
His allegations, detailed in a 4,000 word Tumblr post published a little past 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, has many wondering if Barker’s incident is isolated or more widespread within the football program.
The news caught everyone off guard especially after the emergence of Barker during the majority of the 2012 season. He leads the Gophers in receptions (30), receiving yards (577), and touchdowns (7).
A few weeks ago, Barker injured his ankle on a touchdown catch at home against Purdue. He left the game limping and has not seen action since. During his time off of the field, a battle has gone on between Barker and the coaching staff of Minnesota.
The entire post can be found on Barker’s blog (http://ajbarker82.tumblr.com/)
Here are 10 takeaways from the letter:
- Barker felt that he was under-appreciated after his emergence this season for the Gopher football team. After his injury against Purdue, Barker felt that Kill did not value him as much as a receiver and as part of the team.Kill allegedly told Barker that players like him are a ‘dime a dozen.’ The words obviously ruffled the feathers of the wide receiver.
- Barker goes in detail about the injury process and the details that have happened since the initial injury during the game against the Boilermakers. Before the game against Michigan, Barker felt a cracking sensation in his Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATL) in his ankle. After the secondary injury, the recovery time took longer than expected. That seemed to frustrate Barker, the coaching staff, and the training staff.Last Tuesday, Kill allegedly forced Barker to practice on the injury.
- Barker originally did not want an MRI on the ankle, but thought it over last Wednesday. The training staff allegedly felt undermined and showed up. The injury was shown to be a high ankle sprain.
- There was a clash between the training staff and Barker on Thursday. Ed Lochery, a team physician, allegedly told Barker that he did not like his attitude concerning the injury. Lochery claimed that Barker was not putting in the right effort to come back from the ankle injury.
- After Lochery and Barker got into it, coach Kill allegedly came to the side and ranted at Barker, including screaming the phrase: “YOU DON’T F—–G GET TO TELL THE TRAINER WHAT YOU DO!”
- Barker was rubbed the wrong way with Kill’s tyrant and said that he felt that he had no say in his own injury.
- Kill and Barker later allegedly hashed it out with each other. Barker calls Kill a manipulator in his blog post. Coach talked about the problematic players that he has coached in the past including current cornerback Michael Carter.
- Barker then writes about the previous spring when the coach Reeves allegedly called him ‘a f—-t’ for his spirituality. He also mentions that coach Poore continued to put down the wide receiver emotionally, including before the first game of the season at UNLV.
- The wide receiver finally gets to saying that he no longer wants to be part of the Minnesota program or wants a scholarship for his senior season. Barker admits that he will be looking elsewhere to play his senior season on scholarship. He signs off with ‘Your former player, AJ Barker’
- The final part of the blog post includes the junior receiver explaining all of the manipulation tactics that Kill uses against his players and team.