Michigan lost a heart-breaker to Michigan State on Saturday after a botched Michigan punt resulted in a MSU touchdown as time expired, and now the punter is taking heat for it on social media.
Blake O’Neill, the Wolverine punter, immediately began receiving death threats and other vitriolic comments on Twitter after the game, to the point that Michigan’s interim athletic director Jim Hackett wrote an open letter asking fans to stop.
“We are proud of our kids,” Hackett wrote.
“The people I have been associated with my whole life around this fantastic program — some whom are living and some whom have passed on — would never, I repeat never, spread blame.”
Here’s the play that sparked the controversy:
And here’s the letter in full:
Dear Michigan family,
This Saturday’s game continued to prove the progress that we are making in our football program.
This isn’t only the way I feel the morning after a sudden change of euphoria took us to a heartbreaking loss. I know that many feel this – we are proud of our kids.
I know that all of our friends believe in what they saw for nearly 60 minutes of that game. This team left nothing on the field but its best effort.
The quality of Michigan football filled the chilled air.
Today I awake to the shocking reality that our community who care so much about this program would send hurtful, spiteful and vicious comments to one of our students. To be clear, such comments come from a small minority, none of whom are reflective of our institution.
The program I know at MICHIGAN speaks about the team, the team the team. The people I have been associated with my whole life around this fantastic program – some whom are living and some whom have passed on – would never, I repeat never, spread blame.
As our head coach said yesterday, “…this outcome will steel our spine.”
That means all of us.
I’m asking that our community not lose this game twice by condoning thoughtless comments and remember the Fielding Yost comment that this is the “Michigan of ours.”
With the loss, Michigan fell to 5-2 and Michigan State improved to 7-0.
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