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


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


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.