Gophers WR A.J. Barker quits team, blasts Jerry Kill, says assistant called him a "faggot"

Categories: U of M
aj barker rect.jpg
A.J. Barker to Jerry Kill: "I will work every day of my life to prove I'm nothing like you."
:::: UPDATE :::: Jerry Kill on A.J. Barker accusations: "If I feel bad about anything I feel bad for him"

After a thoroughly uncompetitive 38-14 loss at Nebraska Saturday, it was hard to imagine the weekend getting worse for the University of Minnesota football program. But that's exactly what happened yesterday when leading receiver A.J. Barker quit the team with a scathing feature-length blog post.

In his post, Barker, who has missed the Gophers' last three games with an ankle injury, blasts Jerry Kill for an alleged "pathetic, manipulative display of rage and love" during a practice last Thursday. Kill apparently thought Barker wasn't doing all he could to get healthy and back on the field and screamed at him (according to Barker), "YOU DON'T FUCKING GET TO TELL THE TRAINER WHAT TO DO!"

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"You took the one thing you had a say in (my football playing career and my future) and you held it against me in an attempt to break me, going as far as to tell me I'll never get a scholarship or see the field again," Barker, a St. Paul native, writes (click to page two to read the entire blog post).

Barker, a junior who leads the Gophers with 30 receptions, 577 yards, and seven touchdowns despite not having a scholarship, also alleges in his letter that an assistant coach called him "a faggot for [his] spiritual views" during a spring practice.

Barker's Twitter timeline took a turn for the bitter last Thursday, presumably coinciding with the practice incident with Kill (most recent tweets on top; older ones at bottom):

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Then came these (again, most recent tweets on top):

barker tweets 2.jpg

After publishing the scathing blog post -- which generated reaction spanning the gamut from 'Barker's a baby' to 'Way to be brave, A.J.' -- the disgruntled receiver shed a bit more light on why he decided to throw coach Kill under the bus on his way out the proverbial door:

barker tweets.jpg

The Barker story will certainly be a big talker as the Gophers prepare for their final home game of the season this Saturday against Michigan State, but thus far the only university response has been a statement issued last night by athletic director Norwood Teague.

"We understand A.J.'s frustration with his injury, and we regret that he has chosen to leave the team on these terms," Teague's statement says. "Our concern first and foremost is student athletes, and we wish A.J. well."

To read the full text of Barker's evisceration of Jerry Kill and the U of M football program, click to page two.

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People can be very abusive to people who rely on them for a scholarship that provides a college education that otherwise would be unattainable. When one is financially independent of the need for a scholarship, it alters the dynamic. Barker could pay his own tuition and still wanted to play under Coach Kill - that sounds pretty dedicated to me. But a person can only take so much manipulation and coercion, especially when his permanent health is being knowingly and capriciously endangered. The blowback to Coach Kill was probably unexpected yet well deserved.


Stay strong and good luck, AJ!


I raised 6 kids. I know a kid and "kid thinking" when I run into one (or it). Too bad! He had some nice possibilities as a player -- lovely the way he took command of a ball thrown to him. I wish he had thought about the other 60 or 70 players he'd be letting down, but, as a kid and as kids often do he was all in on himself.Too bad his dad couldn't convince him to work it out. It's never good -- never good -- to quit. His long explanation is all kid think. Good luck to him while he's growing up.

Charles Leck

Dan Johnson
Dan Johnson

Spoiled entitled little shit. Noones going to pick up someone who would go off on the internet and quit via e-mail. Be a man you little freak

Lucas Fahey
Lucas Fahey

good for him and his loquacious protest... It reminded me of my experience in High School with a coach who insisted I keep playing (not to this degree) after having my ring finger tendon snapped in a game. Even after I was diagnosed that I'd need surgery to get my finger working again, he suggested that I hold off on surgery to finish out the season (risking a more complicated operation) and selfishly used several of the manipulator's tactics described at the end of AJ's blog.

Courtney Klos
Courtney Klos

so the football coaches were coaches?

MicheleBachmann topcommenter

 @cleck AJ is their best reciever but Kill wouldn't give him a scholarship.  I'd be insulted too.  If Kill was a good coach he'd maybe get the benefit of the doubt but all I see is a crappy coach who is afraid of North Carolina.  Fire Kill, once you see smoke from a program there is fire.  Do you think AJ is the only immature guy in college football?      How did Kill manage one of his better players so poorly to let this happen?

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