EJ Liddell’s No. 2-seed Ohio State Buckeyes encountered a stunning upset to No. 15 Oral Roberts in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament last week, but it was not the defeat that was most upsetting to Liddell.
Liddell shared threats and harassing messages he received from Buckeye fans in the hours after the loss. The threats prompted a police investigation.
In one post, which included racist and homophobic vulgarities, someone wrote to Liddell, “I hope you (sic) somebody shoot you in ya face fr bruh you is a (expletive) bum.”
In another message, which also included racist expletive, someone wrote to Liddell, “I hope you die I really do.”
On Tuesday, Liddell held a news conference to discuss the threatening messages he received.
“It definitely bothered me a little bit just because I go out there and put a smile on my face every game, but just to play basketball and for people to feel ill about me after a couple of turnovers or missed free throws doesn’t sit right with me because I have feelings too,” Liddell told reporters.
Liddell said this was not the first time he has gotten hateful and threatening messages.
“I just felt it was time to say something,” Liddell said. “A lot of other athletes feel the same way.”
Liddell’s coach, Chris Holtmann, and OSU athletics director Gene Smith offered their support for Liddell.
I will support our student-athletes in and out of competition!— Gene Smith (@OSU_AD) March 20, 2021
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