Colorado head coach Deion Sanders condemned the threats that have been directed toward Colorado State safety Henry Blackburn after Blackburn’s late hit on Travis Hunter on Saturday night.
Hunter was forced to leave the game and go to a local hospital after he was hit along the sideline by Blackburn. Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker said Monday that Blackburn and his mother’s phone numbers had been shared online and they had been barraged by threats. Blackburn was flagged for unnecessary roughness for the hit.
"Henry Blackburn is a good player who played a phenomenal game," Sanders said at his Tuesday news conference. "He made a tremendous hit on Travis along the sideline. You can call it dirty, you can 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. This is still a young man trying to make it in life. A guy that’s trying to live his dream and hopefully graduate with honors and a degree, committed to excellence and go to the NFL."
“He does not deserve a death threat over a game. At the end of the day this is a game. Someone must win, someone must lose. Everybody continues their life the next day. Very unfortunate, I’m saddened if there’s any of our fans that’s on the other side of those threats. I would hope and pray not. But that kid was just playing the best of his ability and he made a mistake. So I forgive him, CU, our team, we forgive him. Travis is — he’s forgiven him. Let’s move on. That kid does not deserve that.”
After the game, Sanders said Hunter would be out a few weeks and was certain to miss the No. 19 Buffaloes’ Week 4 game against No. 10 Oregon this Saturday. Per multiple media reports Monday, Hunter had been diagnosed with a lacerated liver after the hit. Sanders appeared to acknowledge the diagnosis in his news conference when he was asked if Hunter having a lacerated liver would affect when he returns to the field. Sanders simply said “no, sir” to the question.
Hunter has been the most dynamic player in college football through the first three weeks of the season with his play on both sides of the ball. The former top recruit has started at both wide receiver and cornerback for the Buffaloes and has 16 catches for 213 yards on offense and nine tackles and an interception on defense.
Sanders said Tuesday that Hunter is irreplaceable and that the Buffaloes will be looking for multiple people to step up in his absence.
“We’re looking for the next man up. We’re looking for someone else to step up and take control of this … We have talent, we just have to get the talent to be talented and get to do what they’re capable of doing. But there’s no one in the country that can fill Travis Hunter’s shoes. You have to understand he’s a unique player, he’s one of a kind, he’s the best player on offense, the best player on defense — that’s just who he is — in the country, not just on this team. So having guys step up, they just have to step up and do the job we’re asking them to do.”