University of Maryland Police are investigating a fight that broke out Tuesday afternoon between two football players, according to a statement. The fight left punter Matt Barber with a dislocated shoulder and lacerations that required stitches, said Billy Murphy, a lawyer for the family of Jordan McNair.
There have been conflicting reports about whether the argument — which escalated into a physical fight — between Barber and fellow punter Wade Lees was about the recent firing of football coach DJ Durkin.
An officer responded to the football practice field at about 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a police statement, after an athletics employee reported the altercation. The officer talked to both parties and a witness, the statement read, and police have also reviewed video footage of the fight.
A source familiar with the matter told The Diamondback that the fight was “100 percent unrelated” to the firing of Durkin on Wednesday, although Murphy said the fight was connected to Durkin’s exit.
The source said that Barber’s attitude had alienated many of his teammates, and that Barber “tried to bad-talk” a player to Lees, which sparked the fight.
Lees suffered only minor injuries and didn’t seek medical attention, according to the police statement. He tweeted a statement Thursday saying that the fight didn’t have to do with Durkin.
Lees is a vocal defender of Durkin. In a Baltimore Sun story in August, Lees said the abuse allegations that ESPN had reported a few days earlier came “mainly from disgruntled players.”
Meanwhile, Barber — who hasn’t played in a regular-season game during his two years with the team — was a “whistle-blower” against Durkin, Murphy said.
Senior staff writer Andy Kostka contributed to this report.