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A Maryland booster who made comments critical of Jordan McNair and subsequently faced opposition within the football team before its game Saturday at Michigan apologized Monday to those he offended and said that the student newspaper took the remark out of context. He did not accompany the team to the game.
In a story in The Diamondback, Rick Jaklitsch was quoted as saying, "As much as we hate to say this, Jordan didn't do what Jordan was supposed to do. A trainer like Wes Robinson thinks a kid's properly hydrated and runs a drill set up for kids that are properly hydrated, and when the kid didn't drink the gallon he knew he had to drink, that's going to send the wrong signal to the person running the drill."
Jaklitsch was referring to the fact that, according to the independent review looking into the circumstances surrounding McNair's heatstroke and subsequent death, an unopened gallon of water was found by the 19-year-old offensive lineman's locker after he took ill during a May 29 conditioning test.
"The last thing I would ever do is blame Jordan and I certainly apologize to anybody who felt I was blaming Jordan," Jaklitsch told The Baltimore Sun in a telephone interview. "Jordan was a great kid. He made me laugh every single time I talked to him.
"I loved kidding him about McDonogh [where McNair went to high school] versus Calvert Hall. He was a great, lovable kid. I'm heartbroken that he's gone and that his teammates have been through this, his parents have been through this, the university's been through this."
The Diamondback defended its reporting in a statement to The Sun. "The Diamondback does not feel it mischaracterized Mr. Jaklitsch's comments, and we stand by our reporting," said editor-in-chief Ryan Romano. "Mr. Jaklitsch did not raise any concerns with our story after it was published."
The story led Jaklitsch to cancel his plans to travel with the team to Michigan last week. Jaklitsch said he was parking his car at BWI-Thurgood Marshall International Airport on Friday when he received a call from senior associate athletic director Cheryl Harrison informing him that a few players had told her they were upset and that it could be uncomfortable if he traveled on the team plane.
Jaklitsch, a lawyer and former Terrapin Club president who was among a group of high-level boosters to send a letter of support for coach DJ Durkin last month to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, said it was his decision whether to fly with the team. Jaklitsch said he didn't want to be a distraction and returned home. He did not attend the game.
A university spokeswoman declined to comment Monday on the circumstances surrounding Jaklitsch not taking the team plane to Michigan, where the Terps lost to then-No. 15 Michigan, 42-21.
Jaklitsch said his quote in The Diamondback "made it look like I was blaming Jordan, which was the last thing in the world I was doing. I was making a point that there's a whole lot of little tiny things that often come together that cause tragedy, there's no one thing that stands out. Because of that, there's no reason to blame other people and look for a head on a pike."
Alabama's Diggs injured
Alabama starting defensive back Trevon Diggs broke his foot in Saturday's game against Arkansas and is out indefinitely, coach Nick Saban announced Monday.
Through the first six games for the Crimson Tide, the 6-foot-2 junior had 20 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and six pass breakups.
Diggs is tied for third among SEC defensive backs with the six passes defended.
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