Tim Tebow harshly criticized Maryland’s administration behind DJ Durkin’s flip-flop firing earlier this week, arguing that the university showed low character for not sticking to its word and what he perceived as ultimately caving in response to negative publicity.
“You need to make a decision and you need to stand with it,” Tebow said in an appearance on ESPN’s First Take on Friday. “Because right now (the decision to fire Durkin) shows people are so afraid to have conviction to believe in something when they make a decision that they’re like, ‘oh my goodness social media’s against us. Well we’re gonna fire him now.’ You just made a decision to keep him. If that’s your decision, if you believe that’s what’s right for the program, then it shouldn’t matter what I say, what social media says.
“So many people want to be liked instead of being respected. And I think more universities need to stand by what they believe is right.”
Maryland President Wallace Loh fired Durkin after “an overwhelming majority of stakeholders expressed serious concerns about Coach DJ Durkin returning to the campus.” Loh and university officials initially decided to retain Durkin, who was held responsible for offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death five months ago. The player collapsed on the practice field and later died of heatstroke.
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Barely 24 hours passed before Maryland changed its mind on Durkin’s future.
Tebow clarified that he didn’t necessarily feel Durkin deserved to stay, and said the university now needs to bring in a “high character, high integrity young face” to reshape the program.
“I’m not saying their decision was right,” he said. “But (Maryland officials) need to have the courage to say you know what, ‘I’d rather be respected than liked.’ And too many people in our day and age, they just want to be liked.”
Tebow felt that last year a similar situation unfolded at Tennessee when the Volunteers appeared set to hire Ohio State assistant Greg Schiano before social media and fan criticism caused the school to reverse course. Eventually, Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt was hired.
“Listen, let me tell you something social media’s never going to always like you. There’s always gonna be naysayers. It changed the Tennessee job. It changed (the Maryland job),” Tebow added. “I want these presidents and ADs to stand up and when you say something, have it mean something. Let’s be men of our word and have character when we say something when we believe in and have conviction. It’s just, I mean, people say something, it’s not popular let me switch. Who cares about being popular? Have respect. Stand up for what you believe in.”