Colorado State defensive back Henry Blackburn and his family received threats following the controversial hit Blackburn delivered on Colorado two-way star Travis Hunter during the double-overtime loss to the Buffaloes on Saturday, according to Rams coach Jay Norvell and athletic director Joe Parker. CSU campus police and local law enforcement have since looked into the matter, according to Norvell and Parker.
The hit occurred in the first quarter when Hunter was on the offensive side of the ball at wide receiver. Hunter was immediately attended to by trainers while Blackburn received a penalty for unnecessary roughness. Hunter did briefly reenter the game after the hit before he was later ruled out of the game and transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Hunter is expected to miss the next several games for Colorado, putting him out for key matchups coming up against Oregon and USC.
Parker told ESPN that both Blackburn and his mother’s cellphone numbers made their way to the internet by the conclusion of the game, leading to both being overwhelmed with threatening messages. Blackburn’s address at CSU and his family’s home address were also posted online, according to Parker.
“We’re very concerned about our player’s safety, as Henry and his family have continued to receive these threats,” Parker said. “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 his Monday press conference, Norvell acknowledged threats had been made against Blackburn and also stressed that the hit was not intentional.
“Our university is supporting him, the police department is supporting him, because of the seriousness of the threats that have come out of this,” Norvell said. “It’s just sad. It’s sad that that’s the state of the world we live in. I mean, 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.”
Blackburn is in his third season at Colorado State. Hunter, meanwhile, is in his first at Colorado after transferring from Jackson State, following coach Deion Sanders to Boulder, Colorado, after Sanders was hired away from JSU to reinvigorate the Buffaloes program.