As one of several high-seeded basketball teams, many were surprised when Ohio State lost to Oral Roberts in the First Round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. But fandom turned into ugliness when OSU star forward E.J. Liddell received death threats and abusive language over social media after the loss.
According to CBS Sports, the sophomore shared some of the posts directed at him on his own Twitter account, asking why he was the target of such crass language.
[Editor’s Note: The images below contain offensive content]
"Comments don't get to me but I just wanna know why," Liddell wrote in a post. "I've never done anything to anyone in my life to be approached like this."
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Despite the loss, Liddell’s game was strong. He had 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists. Through the season, he has been a crucial offensive player for OSU, and averaging 16.2 points., Hhe is part of what earned the team a No. 2 seed. But the defeat by No. 15 seed Oral Roberts was one of several upsets in the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Still, Liddell, the team, and OSU officials were alarmed by the threats, and responded and the school contacted law enforcement over it, ESPN reported. Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann tweeted a statement defending the player as well.
The vulgarities and threats also spurred others in the basketball world to respond. Charles Barkley, NBA analyst who is also co-hosting televised tournament coverage for CBS Sports angrily, denounced those who sent the messages to Liddell, calling them “losers.”
“But for you to give this kid death threats, and hurl racial slurs at him because you’re safe in your own home like a coward behind a computer and nobody knows who you are,” he said on Sunday (March 21). “You need to take a hard look at yourself in the mirror.”
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