BOULDER — Coach Prime had a firm and direct message to fans and social-media posters who’ve thrown death threats at CSU Rams safety Travis Blackburn: Stop.
“Whatever it was it does not constitute that he should be receiving death threats,” Buffs football coach Deion Sanders said at his weekly news conference Tuesday. “He does not deserve a death threat over a game. At the end of the day, this is a game.”
Deion Sanders calls for forgiveness for Colorado State’s Henry Blackburn, who received death threats after his hit on Travis Hunter. pic.twitter.com/Isr5oeW5bf
— ESPN (@espn) September 19, 2023
Blackburn was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct late in the first quarter of the Rocky Mountain Showdown after striking two-way star Travis Hunter in the chest while the latter was chasing down an incomplete pass from quarterback Shedeur Sanders.
Blackburn was on deep coverage on the play in question and Hunter did not appear to see the CSU defender before contact was made. The Jackson State transfer crumpled in a heap along the visitors’ sideline. Blackburn was immediately confronted by Shedeur Sanders before officials broke the two up.
The defender, who played his prep football at Boulder’s Fairview High School, was not considered to have led with his head nor to have targeted Hunter above the shoulders and remained in the game, which the Buffs won in double overtime, 43-35.
CSU coach Jay Norvell said Monday that Blackburn and his family had received death threats during and after the Showdown.
While Coach Prime asked for forgiveness for the Rams defender, Shilo Sanders, his son, offered a different tone Tuesday.
“I really wanted to whup that dude that did it (Blackburn), for real,” the CU safety said after his father spoke. “That really made me mad, just seeing him try to play dirty like that. That was crazy. I thought something would happen, punishment-wise … if one of us (on the Buffs) did that, if I did that, it would be way crazier than that. They would’ve kicked me out, for sure.”
Hunter returned to the tilt in the second quarter but was removed at halftime and taken to a local hospital for examination. The Georgia native did not return and reportedly suffered a lacerated liver that will sideline him for at least three weeks. Hunter downplayed the injury on a video posted to social media Monday, and Coach Prime said Tuesday that the Buffs had “forgiven” the Rams defender for any transgressions.
“Let’s pray for that kid (Blackburn), man, that’s absurd,” Sanders said as he left his news conference.
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