University of Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders on Tuesday condemned death threats reportedly made against a Colorado State University player who was involved in a play that injured a Colorado star over the weekend.
Sanders, speaking at a scheduled news conference ahead of the Colorado Buffaloes’ upcoming game at Oregon, said he himself receives weekly death threats but “a kid” should never be exposed to this type of intimidation.
Sanders was referring to Colorado State Rams safety Henry Blackburn, who was penalized for unnecessary roughness after he made a late hit Saturday on Buffaloes player Travis Hunter in Colorado’s 43-35 double-overtime win over Colorado State. Hunter, a standout wide receiver and cornerback, was hospitalized following the blow to his midsection.
“Henry Blackburn is a good player who played a phenomenal game. He made a tremendous hit on Travis on the sideline,” Sanders said. “You could call it dirty, you could call it, ‘He was just playing the game of football,’ but whatever it was, it does not constitute that he should be receiving death threats.”
On Monday, Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell said Blackburn and Blackburn’s family had been receiving threats since the hit on Hunter. The university and police are supporting Blackburn, Norvell said.
Sanders said he is “saddened if there’s any of our fans that’s on the other side of those threats.”
“I would hope and pray not. That kid was just playing the best of his ability and he made a mistake,” Sanders said.
Hunter and the Colorado team had forgiven Blackburn, Sanders said. Hunter was released from the hospital on Monday, the coach said.
“It’s football at the end of the day. Stuff like that (the late hit) is going to happen,” Hunter said while speaking during a livestream on Monday. “He (Blackburn) did what he was supposed to do. It’s football. Something bad is going to happen on the field sooner or later. You just got to get up and fight again. That’s what I try to do.”
Sanders, who also answered questions about the Buffaloes’ victory and their upcoming game against Oregon, ended his news conference with another condemnation of the threats against Blackburn.
“Let’s pray for that kid. That is absurd for people to be threatening him. I don’t mind getting death threats. I get them every week,” he said. “But a kid, it’s not good.”
Fort Collins police are “fully committed to the safety and security of individuals in our community and take all threats against anyone’s life seriously,” Fort Collins police Lt. Sara Lynd said.