The Ohio State men’s basketball program suffered a shocking upset loss to No. 15 Oral Roberts in overtime in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Friday.
Following the game, Buckeyes forward EJ Liddell took to social media to share threatening, vulgar insults he received via direct message. The messages were from two different accounts and included a flurry of threats of violence and using slurs.
“What did I do to deserve this? I’m human,” Liddell asked while sharing the screenshots.
Honestly, what did I do to deserve this? I’m human. pic.twitter.com/djXzhSH0q8
— E.J. Liddell (@EasyE2432) March 20, 2021
“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 added. “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.”
After Liddell shared the screenshots, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith promised police involvement and an investigation.
“The threatening social media attack E.J. Liddell faced after the game yesterday is appalling and will not be tolerated,” Smith said in a statement. “To the few of you who have chosen to inappropriately rail against our players on social media, stop. 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.
“The vast majority of Buckeye fans recognize that no one is more disappointed in our unexpected early departure from the NCAA tournament than our coaches and players. They put in all the work and sacrificed considerable freedoms, especially during the COVID pandemic. To all of you who reached out with compassion, I thank 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
To any fan of any school, don’t act this way. At the end of the day, it is just a game.