Ohio State officials have reached out to police about threatening and insulting social media messages sophomore E.J. Liddell received following the Buckeyes’ NCAA Tournament loss on Friday.
Ohio State associate athletic director for communications Dan Wallenberg told The Associated Press he contacted police on Saturday morning about the threats Liddell received after the second-seeded Buckeyes were upset by No. 15 seed Oral Roberts 75-72 in overtime.
Liddell, who had 23 points and 14 rebounds in the game, revealed on his Twitter feed he received threatening messages. He posted images of the messages, including one that said “I hope you die I really do.” Other messages included racist insults.
“Honestly, what did I do to deserve this?” Liddell posted on Twitter. “I’m human.”
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said the language used against Liddell “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. “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.
“I have nothing but love and respect for E.J. He epitomizes all that we hope for in our student-athletes.”
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann also defended Liddell.
“Recent social media comments to E.J. Liddell, while not from or representative of Ohio State fans, are vile, dangerous and reflect the worst of humanity,” Holtmann posted on Twitter. “E.J. is an outstanding young man who had a tremendous sophomore season and he was instrumental in our team’s success. We will take all the necessary actions to address this immediately.”
Liddell said by revealing the threats and insults he was not “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,” he said.
Liddell said he was confused to be targeted by the messages.
“Comments don’t get to me but I just wanna know why,” he said. “I’ve never done anything to anyone in my life to be approached like this.”