The school's athletic director says the player and his family began receiving threats before Saturday's game ended
Colorado State University says football player Henry Blackburn and members of his family have been receiving death threats since a late hit on Saturday night sent rival University of Colorado player Travis Hunter to the hospital.
"We're very concerned about our player's safety, as Henry and his family have continued to receive these threats," Colorado State University athletic director Joe Parker told ESPN on Monday afternoon. "Henry never intended to put anyone in harm's way on the football field. It's not what we teach or coach. We hope that the irrational vitriol directed at Henry stops immediately."
During Colorado State University’s game against rival University of Colorado on Saturday night, Blackburn, a defensive back, lowered his left shoulder and drove it into Colorado wide receiver Hunter’s chest after a pass to him already flew over his head and hit the ground. The late hit immediately drew jeers from the crowd, as well as multiple penalty flags.
Colorado’s quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the son of head coach Deion Sanders, also ran up the field and got in Blackburn’s face after the hit. Hunter struggled to get up and was soon taken off the field with the help of Colorado’s medical staff. It was reported that the wide receiver was hospitalized afterwards.
“As a former safety, that’s a very dumb play on the part of Henry Blackburn,” ESPN broadcaster Louis Riddick said as Hunter remained reeling on the ground. “I understand you may be trying to send a message, but that right there? The ball had already hit the ground.”
The play also drew backlash on social media, which led to Blackburn’s cell phone number and family’s cell phone numbers being published online, the school’s athletic director told ESPN. Parker said Blackburn’s campus address and his family’s address were already being shared online.
According to Parker, Blackburn already began receiving death threats before Colorado defeated Colorado State in double overtime.
"It's just sad," Colorado State coach Jay Norvell said on Monday. "It's sad that that's the state of the world we live in. It's a football game. Let's not make it more than that. We don't want anybody to get hurt. We don't coach that kind of football."
Norvell described Blackburn’s hit on Hunter as “a play that happens sometimes,” discounting the threats that came afterwards.
“I hope there can be some accountability in that type of behavior," Norvell told reporters, according to Yahoo! Sports. "I’m very concerned for our kids. There’s really no place for that in athletics and sports."
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.