Monday, November 19, 2012
Jerry Kill answers A.J. Barker's charges
By Brian Bennett
Minnesota receiver A.J. Barker stunned a lot of people by announcing Sunday evening that he was quitting the team, then accusing head coach Jerry Kill and other Gophers staffers of mistreatment in a long online letter.
Kill responded to the accusations with a short news conference on Monday. Kill defended the way Barker was treated in his program.
"I feel bad for A.J.," Kill said. "I feel bad that's the way he feels about the situation, and I'll do anything I can to help in the future with whatever he decides to do. ... But I don't treat my players any differently than I treat my own two daughters."
Kill said he didn't really know what brought about Barker's unhappiness and that his attempts to reach the player after reading the letter Sunday were unsuccessful. But he said things came to a head during Thursday's practice, when he said he heard Barker having a "confrontation" with one of the team's trainers.
"It got loud," Kill said. "I called him over to let him know I wasn't very happy. ... You do not talk to an adult or someone of authority in that voice."
Barker accused the training staff of keeping him in the dark about his injury. Kill said Barker had not been following trainers' instructions after injuring his ankle.
As for Barker's accusation that a Gophers staffer had called him an anti-gay slur, Kill said, "Nobody's ever done that. Not to my knowledge. I'm not around every single minute, but as far as when I've been around, there's nobody [that has] ever done that."
Kill also said he did not insult Barker's family, as Barker claimed.
The Minnesota coach said he has a list of rules and procedures that every player must follow and that he's been consistent on those his entire career. Kill said he wishes Barker had handled his concerns differently.
"I wish he had come and seen me," Kill said. "Things are a lot easier that way, to me. You always do things face to face on that nature."