Penn State’s impressive season on the field has been accompanied by a few dark clouds off the field from the fan base.
Earlier this year, a player received a racially toned letter from an alumnus disapproving of his long hair and tattoos.
Now in the wake of the Nittany Lions biggest game of the season this week against Ohio State, it was revealed that Penn State’s QB Sean Clifford received multiple death threats following a 31-26 loss on the road to Minnesota two weeks ago.
Head coach James Franklin took time to address the situation in his weekly press conference:
Social media gives fans the ability to interact with players.
With that comes good and bad, and @PennStateFball is the latest to experience the unfortunate latter.
"I don't know where we are as a society, it's concerning." pic.twitter.com/MNJ1XbpeCp
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 19, 2019
I want to be as clear as I possibly can be about what’s unfolded from the Penn State fan base this season…this is simply UNACCEPTABLE.
Sean Clifford shouldn’t have to delete his entire social media presence or have to worry about some crazed fans trying to kill him after any game. That’s just absolute lunacy.
That kid goes out there and gives it his all every single week and sustained Penn State’s prominence in a time when everyone thought they would falter after losing Trace McSorely and Saquon Barkley.
Not to mention…Clifford is a human being too. Too often we treat athletes like they’re this breed of super heroes or super humans but that’s just not the reality.
Put yourself in Clifford’s shoes. You just suffered your first loss – a narrow defeat in a game that had playoff implications – as Penn State’s starting quarterback. You’re devastated and probably shedding a few tears realizing that the road to the playoff just got a lot harder. And then you look down at your phone and see the fans that once supported you now want to kill you.
I’m sorry all Clifford has done is go 9-1 this season and get Penn State it’s first ever college football playoff top-four ranking. I’m sorry that your miserable life was affected so much by a college football game that you wanted to kill a 21-year-old kid.
As a Penn State alum myself, I’m honestly so disappointed right now. We need to be better. This behavior simply can’t happen.