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Ohio State has reached out to the police after Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell received threatening messages following the team’s first-round exit from the NCAA tournament Friday, ESPN reports.
The 20-year-old, who finished with a team-high 23 points, missed a free throw in the final seconds of No. 2 seed Ohio State’s 72-75, opening-round loss to 15th seeded Oral Roberts.
“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,” Liddell wrote. “This is not me saying anything negative about Ohio State fans. I love you all dearly and I’ve felt nothing but appreciated since the first day I stepped on campus.”
In one message, a person wrote to Liddell: “You are such a f—ing disgrace. Don’t ever show your face at Ohio State. We hate you. I hope you die I really do.”
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith threatened to get authorities involved and said he will support Ohio State’s student-athletes in and out of competition.
ESPN has since confirmed the school has reached out to authorities after Liddell received the threatening tweets..
“The threatening social media attack E.J. Liddell faced after the game yesterday is appalling and will not be tolerated,” Smith wrote on social media.”
Smith said he understands it was an unexpected and early departure from the NCAA Tournament, but thanked the individuals who reached out with compassion through it.
“To the few of you who have chosen to inappropriately rail against our players on social media, stop,” Smith wrote. “Hate and derision have no place in Buckeye Nation or in civil society. If you cross the line and threaten our players, you will be hearing from the authorities. That I promise you.”
He said he has nothing but love and respect for Liddell stating, “he epitomizes all that we hope for in our student-athletes.”
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said on Saturday that the recent social media comments toward Liddell are “vile, dangerous and reflect the worst of humanity.”
Holtmann said the comments are “not from or representative of Ohio State fans” and Liddell was instrumental to the team’s success this season.
“We will take the necessary actions to address this immediately.”Buckeyes head coach Chris Holtmann said.
Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day tweeted at Liddell with a Theodore Roosevelt quote.
The quote reads in part: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena …”