Dayton coach Anthony Grant didn’t hold back Tuesday night.
Grant erupted on certain Dayton fans, who he said have been threatening him and his players in recent weeks. Grant revealed that both he and players on his team have received hateful messages, threats and more related to gambling — which became legal in Ohio on Jan. 1.
“I have to say seething because I think it’s just necessary at this point,” Grant said, via the Dayton Daily News. “These young men, we’re asking them to sacrifice quite a bit for us to be able to do what we do and enjoy what we enjoy. So I’m just asking all the Flyer fans just to understand that we’re dealing with 18-, 21-, 22-year-olds, and it’s about them. This is about them … There’s some laws that have recently been enacted that, really to me, could change the landscape of what college sports is all about.
“When we have people that make it about themselves and attack kids because of their own agenda, it sickens me.”
Anthony Grant delivered an emotional speech in his postgame press conference. Dayton players were the target of hate online from losing gamblers after the game Friday vs. VCU. pic.twitter.com/l0XgKE8Vsa
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) January 18, 2023
Grant played a voicemail for reporters showing just a sample of the messages he said he has received.
“You had the lead with two minutes left,” a caller said in a voicemail. “That’s not comfortable. People will go down. Heads will roll for what happened tonight, I promise you that!”
While it’s not clear specifically what the caller is referring to or who it was, it doesn’t matter to Grant. To him, it's crossing a line.
Grant is in his sixth season leading the Flyers. They beat Davidson 68-61 on Tuesday just before Grant’s rant, though they failed to cover the 10.5-point spread. On Friday, the Flyers fell to VCU despite holding an early 14-point lead in a game they were favored in.
Friday’s reaction from fans, athletic director Neil Sullivan said, “was the worst.”
“They have families,” Grant said, via the Dayton Daily News. “They don’t deserve that. Mental health is real.
“So if you’re a Flyer fan, I ask you just to understand what you’re dealing with, with young people. Take a step back, and reevaluate your priorities. And if you can’t, we don’t need you.”