“Henry Blackburn is a good player who played a phenomenal game,” Sanders said Tuesday. “He made a tremendous hit on Travis on the sideline. You could call it dirty, you could 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.
“That 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 or degree, committed to excellence and go to the NFL. He does not deserve a death threat over a game.”
Blackburn, a senior from Boulder, Colorado, was whistled for a personal foul for his late hit on Hunter in the first half, which required the Buffaloes’ two-way star to leave the game and go to the hospital.
Hunter was released from the hospital Monday and will miss at least Saturday’s game against No. 10 Oregon — and likely a few more weeks — with a lacerated liver.
“It’s football at the end of the day,” Hunter said Monday on his YouTube show. “That stuff happens.”
Threats against Blackburn started before No. 19 Colorado completed its 43-35 double-overtime victory late Saturday night, Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker told ESPN’s Pete Thamel.
University and local police have both investigated the threats, which came via phone calls, text messages and on social media, according to Parker.
“At the end of the day, this is a game,” Sanders said. “Someone must win, someone must lose. Everybody continues their life the next day.
“[The death threats are] 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. I forgive him. CU, our team forgives him. Travis, he’s forgiven him. Let’s move on. But that kid does not deserve that.”
Before ending his weekly news conference, Sanders asked for prayers for Blackburn, adding that it’s “absurd for people to be threatening him.”
“I don’t mind getting death threats,” Sanders said. “I get them every week — but a kid, it’s not good.”