Unfortunately for Liddell and the Buckeyes, a No. 2 seed, their trip in Indiana didn’t last long. Oral Roberts, a No. 15 seed, pulled off an improbable overtime upset of the Buckeyes.
Things got worse later on Friday for Liddell, who publicly shared a flood of racial and profane messages, including death threats, that he received on social media.
E.J. Liddell received nasty messages after Ohio State’s loss
E.J. Liddell is publicly speaking out after receiving offensive messages and death threats on Instagram.
Liddell shared the graphic messages on his personal Twitter account. One user wrote they hoped Liddell was shot following the Buckeyes’ loss. The same user threatened to find a hacker to “find out exactly where you be.”
Another Instagram user called Liddell a “f—— disgrace” and told the forward never to show his face at Ohio State again.
“I hope you die,” the second person told Liddell on Instagram. “I really do.”
Liddell addressed the flood of messages in a Twitter thread.
“Honestly, what did I do to deserve this? I’m human. Comments don’t get to me but I just wanna know why. I’ve never done anything to anyone in my life to be approached like this. This is not me 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.”
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith addressed the issue on his personal Twitter account. Smith defended Liddell and called the fans’ behavior “appalling.”
“To the few of you who have chosen to inappropriately rail against our players on social media, stop,” Smith wrote. “Hate and derision have no place in Buckeye Nation or in civil society.
“If you cross the line and threaten our players, you will be hearing from the authorities. That I promise you.”
Liddell was one of the Buckeyes’ best players in the loss
Without E.J. Liddell, the Ohio State Buckeyes may not even have made it to overtime against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.
Liddell scored 23 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and dished five assists in 39 minutes to open the NCAA Tournament. The sophomore also turned the ball over five times and missed two of his four three throw attempts in a three-point loss.
However, Ohio State had bigger issues beyond Liddell’s play. The Buckeyes made only five of 23 tries from 3-point range, while Oral Roberts made 11 of their 35 attempts from behind the arc.
Ohio State also lost the turnover battle, 16-6.
Many defened E.J. Liddell on social media
The sports world is rallying around E.J. Liddell after he went public with the death threats.
Former NBA guard and social media influencer Rex Chapman directly responded to Liddell’s thread.
“Don’t pay that any damn attention, bro,” Chapman tweeted. “None. Please. Great season.”
Longtime Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones shared a similar opinion on Twitter.
“Hold your head up high young king @EasyE2432 some people are just trash. Also have never done anything with their lives worth attention!! Great season and continue the grind!!”
Former Ohio State star JJ Sullinger complimented Liddell on a “great season” and told him not to dwell on the loss.
“This spring and summer is a big one for you!!” Sullinger tweeted. “I’m positive you already know that. Rest up, block the negativity, and handle your business!!! #BuckeyeNation is 100% behind you!!”