By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - Only a matter of hours after announcing his intentions to leave the Golden Gopher Football team, former WR A.J. Barker continued his media tour to spread his side of the story on why he was pushed to the point of quitting the Gophers Football team.
Yesterday, Barker published a 4,000+ word dissertation titled "My Letter to Jerry Kill" to his Tumblr account explaining his stance against the program and second-year Head Coach Jerry Kill. Within the letter, Barker refers to Coach Kill as a "Dictator", a "master manipulator", saying that he "pushed me to the brink, and now all I have the power left to do is leave."
Now with more time to delve deeper into the issue, Barker's one-sided attack has been taking shape for the past few days, ramping up to yesterday's onslaught and the impending media blitz.
The days leading up to his yesterday's announcement, Barker's Twitter account has been littered with posts like...
You look really pathetic when you take advantage of people.— AJ Barker (@A_Barker_82) November 15, 2012
Word for the wise: Don't play mind games with someone who has a stronger mind than you.— AJ Barker (@A_Barker_82) November 15, 2012
Last night, Barker took his story to the official media with a 25 minute sit down interview with KARE 11. During the conversation, Barker alluded to a conversation he had brought to Coach Kill following the Gophers first game of the season against UNLV. Reading between the lines, Barker approached Kill following his three catch, 101 yard performance asking to be made an official scholarshipped player. At the time, Kill alledgedly opted to hold the scholarship for a kicker, rightfully waiting for Barker to prove consistent.
"I'm sure this caught him by surprise," Barker told KARE 11. "He thought that he had achieved what he wanted to achieve."
Barker went on to compare his situation with Coach Kill to those suffered in cases of family abuse.
"I don't think [players'] voices should be suppressed," Barker said. "If they disagree with you I think they should be allowed to go to the media…right now there is no voice for the player. This is my voice right now and it's coming out very strong."
In his Tumblr note posted Sunday afternoon, Barker referenced a three day stretch where Kill was alledgedly giving the star wide receiver a tough time in regards to his injured ankle. Comments that Barker said he didn't necessarily appreciate.
"I've always had a strong, confident personality and I'll speak my mind," Barker told KARE 11 last night. "I'll speak what I believe is right. I've always faced some opposition from people above me and I've had tremendous support from people above me as well. There's been a pattern in my life where I've had friction at times for me with authority figures."
When asked if there was anything that Kill and the Gophers could do to change his mind, Barker claimed his mind was made up saying, "I don't want your scholarship, I don't want to play for you."
"This wasn't something that I wanted to give him the opportunity to work through," Barker said. "I don't think he deserved to have the opportunity to work through with me. I feel like I've earned the right to be able to walk away from this."
An unrecruited walk-on, Barker has the opportunity to transfer within division-1 and play immediately with his new team. An option which he is hoping will lead to an opportunity elsewhere.
"I'm open to [playing at] a lot of places," Barker said. "I would love to stay closer to home and still be able to compete at this level…If [Big Ten] were available I would love to do that. I would definitely love to play against MN is that were possible…to be able to get in that ring against them and to be able to compete against them…that would be really awesome."
Coach Kill has yet to comment on the situation but late last night, University of Minnesota Athletics Director Norwood Teague released the University's first official comment on the situation in which Teague mentioned Kill had reached out to Barker after receiving his e-mail, but got no response.
"Coach Kill received an e-mail from A.J. Barker today notifying the Coach that he has quit the team," Teague's statement read. "Coach Kill tried reaching out to A.J. after receiving the e-mail, 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."
More information surrounding Barker's departure will likely surface as the week goes on and Jerry Kill takes to the mic on Tuesday. Stay tuned to KFAN.com for updates throughout the week.