Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

E.J. Liddell saw the worst of humanity after Ohio State’s loss

Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell received death threats following his team’s loss in the NCAA tournament.
Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell received death threats following his team’s loss in the NCAA tournament.
Image: Getty Images

If you’re looking for actual madness, consider the case of E.J. Liddell.

Over the weekend, the Ohio State sophomore standout received death threats after his team lost to No. 15, Oral Roberts. Liddell took to his own Twitter page early Saturday morning to share the messages, and ask, “Honestly, what did I do to deserve this? I’m human.”

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The threats immediately received proper backlash. Ohio State reached out to police and OSU coach Chris Holtmann said the comments were “vile, dangerous and reflect the worst of humanity.” And Charles Barkley — who, let’s just say, isn’t always the voice of reason — actually had some of the best comments.

Barkley, who doesn’t use social media, teed off on the scumbags who went after Liddell. “Why would you sit at your house and tweet, or send something to a kid… after he lost a stupid basketball game to give him death threats or hurl racial slurs at him? You need to take a good look in the mirror and just realize you’re just a frickin’ loser.”

“This is crazy, honestly — the fact that Charles Barkley said something about it,” Liddell told CNN this morning.

During the New Day interview, he was asked how he’s holding up a few days after the threats. “It kinda messed me up a little bit,” Liddell said when he first saw the messages. “People just watch the TV but like, off the court, I have a mom, a little brother, a big sister and they all care for me dearly. I know they don’t want me to be talked about like that.”

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After he released the messages via Twitter, Liddell said, “everybody’s been telling [me] how much of the great season we’ve had and how much of a great season I’ve had individually.”

“Everybody could say constructive criticism,” he added. “But sometimes, people go a little bit too far.” And these trolls definitely did.

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Other basketball players and athletes reached out to Liddell and said they got similar threats. But there is something especially infuriating about a 20-year-old, playing for free in a billion-dollar tournament… in a pandemic… receiving this kind of abuse. That’s madness, too.

“I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just the game,” he told CNN’s John Berman. “I’m a college student not getting paid or anything. I just go out there with a smile on my face every single day and just have fun. I’ve been having fun doing this since I was probably like in the second grade.”

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And he’ll keep having fun on the court in the years to come. Sorry, haters!