Photo courtesy of Michael Conroy – Associated Press
We all saw what happened yesterday when Oral Roberts became just the 9th 15-seed ever to upset the 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament, but what transpired last night was disgusting beyond measure. Ohio State star E.J. Liddell had to take to twitter in order to showcase some of the messages he was receiving as a result of the game’s surprising outcome.
I won’t be providing the screenshots within this blog because of their vile nature, but if you’re so inclined I will leave a link to E.J.’s initial tweet, but be warned there is some severe language and an overall sickening message surrounding these messages.
Before we get into the remaining details surrounding this situation, let’s first get something out of the way that any person with a shred of common decency will already understand; you have no right, under any circumstances, to wish death upon an athlete because of the outcome of a basketball game. Anyone who sends messages along the lines of what Liddell received is a lowlife who can’t function as a normal part of society, and probably shouldn’t be able to enjoy sports in general.
I’m not saying that things can’t be questioned in losses, and there were many cases of Ohio State fans reasonable discussing potential issues with the team’s play, but there is a vast gray area between that and what we witnessed Friday night. That behavior isn’t tolerable at any level but looking strictly at this case, these players aren’t even being paid to play the game.
These kids, that’s right, kids go out there night in and night out risking their futures for the entertainment of the fans, yet some weirdos on social media think they have the right to DM players with hate? It’s completely wrong, and shows just how awful subsections of the internet can be.
Now, Liddell’s post showcasing these vile messages was met with overwhelming support from athletes, coaches, fans, and everyone in between. As well as the positive support, Ohio State alerted police concerning these threatening DM’s, as reported by the Associated Press. Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith made it clear that the university wouldn’t tolerate such behavior, and put out multiple statements supporting their sophomore forward.
Whether anything of significance comes from the police report remains to be seen, but there has been a reassuring stand taken by the general public. Hopefully the weirdo keyboard warriors who felt the need to take their life failures out on a 20 year old kid get whatever consequences may be headed their way, and we as a sports community will continue to show the positivity that so many choose to spread.