Washington State receiver Marquess Wilson released a statement Saturday evening saying he was leaving the football program and cited abuse by coach Mike Leach and his staff.
Wilson was suspended last week after walking out on a workout. But in a lengthy statement released by Wilson, he claims there's more to the story.
Dear Cougar Nation:
It is with a heavy heart that I announce my decision to forgo playing football for Washington State University. I realize the school is saying that I am suspended for violating team policies and may return next week, but this is a lie. This is an attempt by the athletic department to cover up what is really happening in that locker room.
It is been a privilege to be a Cougar, to perform on your field and wear the Crimson and Gray. I would like to thank Washington State University for giving me the opportunity to do what I love most, to play football and receive a quality education for the past three years. I'm grateful to the athletic department for the coaching, care and encouragement I have received prior to this season.
This was going to be our year. My teammates and I were aspiring to be the winning team you deserve. Unfortunately for all, the new coaching staff has destroyed that endeavor. I believe coaches have a chance to mold players, to shape men, to create greatness. However, the new regime of coaches has preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us. This approach has obviously not been successful, and has put a dark shadow on this program.
My teammates and I have endured this treatment all season long. It is not "tough love". It is abuse. This abuse cannot be allowed to continue. I feel it is my duty to stand up and shed light on this situation by sacrificing my dreams, my education and my pride. I resign from this team. I am deeply sorry to those I am letting down. I am not a quitter. I was raised by my family, and many previous coaches to exhibit dedication and embrace sacrifice, but there comes a time when one has to draw a line in the sand.
Lastly, I thank my fellow teammates, those who also have left the program this year, and those we are leaving behind. I hope our departure will bring awareness to the physical, emotional and verbal abuse being allowed in the locker room and on the field. I pray for healing and recovery for all those who have been hurt by this treatment
It's no secret that Leach doesn't have the gentlest touch. He showed that at Texas Tech and it's been further exemplified during public comments he's made to the media about his team and its effort. And Wilson was never excluded from this.
From the time Leach started working with the Cougars, he cited Wilson, a second-team All-Pac 12 receiver, as inconsistent, soft and unwilling to put in the work. During an Oct. 27 loss to Stanford, Wilson found himself benched. In the following week, media reported that Wilson was coasting through practices, dropping easy passes and then giving half effort when sentenced to 20 up-downs a punishment.
Against Utah the following week, Wilson lost his starting spot for the first time in three years. The next day he walked out of practice.
Not saying there's no merit to Wilson's claims, it just seems like it's probably not all Leach's fault. Leach is a hardass, there's no disputing that, but this is also major college football and Washington State hasn't played at that level in awhile.
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