College basketball player E.J. Liddell tweeted screenshots of threats and hateful messages he received from angry fans after his team’s early exit from the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
The messages to the Ohio State forward include racial insults and direct threats of harm.
“Don’t ever show your face at Ohio state,” someone wrote in one of the messages. “We hate you. I hope you die I really do.”
“Honestly, what did I do to deserve this? I’m human,” Liddell tweeted alongside the screenshots. “Comments don’t get to me but I just wanna know why. I’ve never done anything to anyone in my life to be approached like this.”
Head men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann said in a tweet Saturday morning that the messages sent to Liddell are “vile, dangerous and reflect the worst of humanity.”
— Chris Holtmann (@ChrisHoltmann) March 20, 2021
The Buckeyes fell 75-72 in overtime to No. 15-seeded Oral Roberts during the tournament’s first round, making Ohio State the ninth No. 2 seed in NCAA Tournament history to lose an opening round game, according to WCMH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio.
Liddell was Ohio State’s leading scorer and rebounder this season. He scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Friday’s game, the news station reported.
“EJ is an outstanding young man who had a tremendous sophomore season and he was instrumental in our team’s success,” Holtmann said.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told WCMH that the university’s athletic department is working with Liddell to file a complaint with campus police. The police will determine next steps and whether anyone else should get involved in any investigation, Smith said.
“The threatening social media attack E.J. Liddell faces after the game yesterday is appalling and will not be tolerated. To the few of you who have chosen to inappropriately rail against our players on social media, stop,” Smith said in a tweet Saturday morning. “If you cross the line and threaten our players, you will be hearing from the authorities. That I promise you.”
I will support our student-athletes in and out of competition!
I have nothing but love and respect for E.J. He epitomizes all that we hope for in our student-athletes. pic.twitter.com/BxejMWvo1x
— Gene Smith (@OSU_AD) March 20, 2021