Gophers wide receiver A.J. Barker rips Kill, quits team

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Gophers wide receiver A.J. Barker says he's quitting the team effective immediately and will seek to transfer to another football program,according to the Pioneer Press.

In an interview with the newspaper, Barker said his decision came after a heated discussion he had with Minnesota coach Jerry Kill last Thursday over not being healthy enough to play yet.

Barker also talked with KARE-11, which posted the extended interview on their web site:

Barker, a junior, has missed the past three games with a high ankle sprain. Despite missing those games, he's still the team leader with 30 catches for 577 yards and seven touchdowns.

Barker created a Tumblr page to post his thoughts in detail. The 4,000-word document -- which includes profane language pointed at Kill -- can be found here.Here's a portion of that letter:

 "In light of that pathetic, manipulative display of rage and love you put on this past Thursday, I have come to the decision, with the guidance of my parents and my closest friends, that my time on this team has come to an end. It kills me that I have to do this before the season’s over, but this is the only way I can protect myself against the manipulation and abuse I’d have to endure from you the rest of this season."

Sunday night, Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague released an official response, sending along best wishes to Barker:

 "Coach Kill received an email from A.J. Barker today notifying the Coach that he has quit the team. Coach Kill tried reaching out to A.J. after receiving the email, but was unable to connect with him. We understand A.J.'s frustration with his injury, and we regret that he has chosen to leave the team on these terms. Our concern first and foremost is student athletes and we wish A.J. well."

There's also a blizzard of opinion on social media sites. The Pioneer Press compiled rapid responses on Twitter, from both supporters and critics of Barker's move.

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.

classroom

Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.

purse

Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.

Related

Kill: 'Miracle' needed for A.J. Barker to play against Illini

Gophers coach Jerry Kill says it would take "a miracle" for receiver A.J. Barker to be able to play at Illinois Saturday. In his weekly news conference, Kill also said he thinks his team will bounce back after losing to Michigan.

Gophers wide receivers have big day

Jerry Kill has been impressed with the wide receivers over the last two Gophers football spring practices. Devin Crawford-Tufts, Malcolm Moulton, A.j. Barker, Drew Goodger and John Rabe all made difficult catches during Tuesday's practice.