Former Fighting Illini offensive lineman Simon Cvijanović just went on a long Twitter rant about the Illini football coaching staff's treatment of its players.
Cvijanović, who was a starter on the offensive line for four years, criticized the team's head athletic trainer, Toby Harkins, as well as Beckman himself for improperly handling his knee injuries. He also criticized Beckman for not allowing him to travel with the team for the bowl game or attend the senior banquet after Cvijanović left the team midseason.
Cvijanović's younger brother, Peter, is also an offensive lineman who will be on the team this season. During his rant, other Illini jumped into the fray with their own opinions. Former wide receiver Peter Bonahoom, who left the team last season, agreed with Cvijanović's criticism. Current right tackle Christian DiLauro tweeted in support of Beckman, and his comments were retweeted by several Illini players (Dre Brown) and parents (Lynn Dudek).
UPDATE #2-- The Fighting Illini athletic department has released a statement (from Tim Beckman) about Cvijanović's comments:
"Simon Cvijanovic was a valued member of the University of Illinois football team. He chose to leave the team during the 2014 regular season and withdrew from the university before the end of the semester. Upon his return for the spring semester, we have continued to support him with medical care an academic scholarship and academic advising. We cannot make any student accept our support. We wish him success in completing his degree, and we wish him the best of success in whatever he pursues after he graduates."
~ Tim Beckman
We'll have as much coverage as possible on this story as it develops. The majority of the relevant tweets can be found below.
I stopped playing football because of my physical health. I was asked to push myself past pain until I didn't want to play anymore. #truth— Simon Cvijanović (@IlliniSi) May 10, 2015
Toby Harkins worked for months as our head trainer and was not a licensed medical professional in the state of Illinois. He was fired.— Simon Cvijanović (@IlliniSi) May 10, 2015
We don't talk about how we're mistreated because we're then "not a team player" or "soft" but no one pays the bill when we're gone.— Simon Cvijanović (@IlliniSi) May 10, 2015
I'm not gonna just keep quiet while players suffer— Simon Cvijanović (@IlliniSi) May 10, 2015
I met w @coachbeckman this Friday and was kicked out of his office cuz he couldn't answer y I wasn't invited to the senior banquet.— Simon Cvijanović (@IlliniSi) May 10, 2015
I'm not the only horror story of abuse and misuse of power by @coachbeckman— Simon Cvijanović (@IlliniSi) May 10, 2015
Speak up and unionize. There is NO loss for you unless your coach is a violator https://t.co/0YJYnzmSJg— Simon Cvijanović (@IlliniSi) May 10, 2015
I have to see therapy for the rest of my life because I wasn't given an option to have my knee repaired.— Simon Cvijanović (@IlliniSi) May 10, 2015
All I have to say is that, coming to U of I is easily the best decision I have ever made!! #Illini— CJ (@cjdilauro67) May 10, 2015
UPDATE #1-- there's more:
Everyone has a tough journey/story playing collegiate sports. Stop blaming one person or situation and start taking responsibility— Miles Osei (@TheMiles8) May 10, 2015
☕️— Ralph Cooper (@RalphCooper42) May 10, 2015
My son has had injuries since being at Illinois and the coaches have handled them professionally.— Matt DiLauro (@DiLauroMatt) May 10, 2015
UPDATE #3-- More the following morning from Cvijanović and fellow former Illini Jack Cornell:
@IlliniSi what do you mean that's why you cussed out Gilbert at the KFHB? You felt entitled to playing time and threw a hissy fit when...— Jack Cornell (@JackCornell73) May 11, 2015
@IlliniSi you didn't get it. Instead of helping us beat UCLA you decided to be selfish and worry about your own self.— Jack Cornell (@JackCornell73) May 11, 2015
@IlliniSi you think you're the first player who had to play hurt? Or the first player to not be wanted by a coach who didn't recruit you?— Jack Cornell (@JackCornell73) May 11, 2015
@IlliniSi if what you're saying is true then by all means there needs to be an investigation, but you're making this all about YOU— Jack Cornell (@JackCornell73) May 11, 2015
@JackCornell73 Gilbert made me his target as a freshman and it was a joke to the entire team. Thanks for the invite btw brotha— Simon Cvijanović (@IlliniSi) May 11, 2015
@IlliniSi he had plenty of targets man, you took yours way too personally— Jack Cornell (@JackCornell73) May 11, 2015