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In Terp player's death, we must have all the facts

Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, a McDonogh alumnus who died June 13.
Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, a McDonogh alumnus who died June 13. (University of Maryland)

This is a difficult time for Terrapins everywhere. I am a 1970 graduate, a loyal Terp, and the immediate past chair of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation. I am not speaking on behalf of the foundation, but as a proud alumnus.

There are many opinions about the tragic death of football player Jordan McNair and accusations of abusive behavior within the program — both currently under external review. I feel I must speak out on behalf of fairness, fact-finding and reason (“High-level donors group sends letter to Maryland’s Board of Regents in support of DJ Durkin,” Aug. 30).

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We need to keep the McNair family in our thoughts first and foremost. There is no excuse for the mistakes in Jordan’s treatment, as stated by President Wallace Loh and Athletic Director Damon Evans. We must now learn from what has happened to ensure it never happens again. All students need and expect our protection.

We should not get caught up in the public frenzy around the allegations of abusive behavior. We have only heard one side of the story. We need a full picture of who did and knew what and when.

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I am not defending anyone. Anyone who did commit such acts or ignored them should no longer be part of our community. Until we know all the facts, we need to pause. We must let the reviews play out.

Recently, the Board of Regents of the University of System of Maryland took control of both reviews, a move welcomed by President Loh. This move ensures even more independence of the investigations.

The Regents should let the commission continue in independence so far as it is composed of people above reproach, including two distinguished, retired federal judges and Charles Scheeler who was the NCAA monitor to institute reforms at Penn State and staff the investigation of Major League Baseball steroid use. Their additional appointees only add to the stature of the commission.

As a society, we often draw conclusions too fast. I ask all alumni and people everywhere to let due process take place. Many families, especially the McNairs, are hurting. We need all the facts before we can ensure we take appropriate actions.

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V. Raymond Ferrara, Belleair, Fla.

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