COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell, an all-Big Ten 1st team player this year, says he’s received multiple hate-filled messages and threats via social media.
Liddell posted screen shots of those threats to his social media late Friday night, hours after Ohio State suffered an upset loss to Oral Roberts in the NCAA Tournament opening round. OSU became the ninth No. 2 seed in NCAA Tournament history to lose an opening round game.
The messages to Liddell included racial insults and direct threats of harm, including one that read, “I hope you die I really do.”
“Honestly, what did I do to deserve this?” Liddell posted on Twitter. “I’m human.”
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith tells NBC4 the athletic department has worked with Liddell to file a complaint with OSU police. Smith says the police will determine the next steps and who else gets involved in any investigation.
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.”
Smith and Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann both released statements Saturday morning in support of Liddell.
Liddell was Ohio State’s leading scorer and rebounder this season. He scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Friday’s game.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.