University of Kansas basketball player Elijah Johnson is responding to a death threat made on Twitter after a bitter close win at Iowa State this week.
KU head basketball coach Bill Self said he's talked to Johnson about the tweets, but neither of them is very concerned.
Maybe it was a dunk in the last few seconds of KU's victory Monday that sent two Iowa State students on a Twitter rampage, using racial and derogatory slurs and threatening Johnson's and the rest of the team's lives.
"That was an unbelievable basketball game with the best performance we've had since I've been here by an individual. To have things like that happen at the end, there were other things that happened. But that shouldn't take away with what happened in the game," Self said during a press conference Thursday. "The thing about it is I think those things are totally wrong, insensitive, there's no place in society for that kind of stuff."
The same day, Iowa State Student Body President Jared Knight sent an apology letter: "On behalf of all students of Iowa State University, I apologize to Elijah Johnson, the students at the University of Kansas, and anyone else who read these hateful and disgusting tweets."
"I'm honestly not having a hard time dealing with it. I'm good at blocking out the negative stuff. I can hear you and pay it no mind," Johnson, a senior guard, said. "There's just something about being able to man up and not pay attention to certain things. My dad taught me that at a young age. I don't feed into certain things you'd think the average person would."
The Twitter accounts of the two students involved have been deleted, and the university is investigating the incident. Self said he hopes the aftermath doesn't overshadow what was a great game.
"Unfortunately there are idiots around in all different areas. That should not take away from the 13,000 people that were at the game that cheered their team on. It was an emotional game and a couple people responded that way," Self said.
KU plays Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, hosting West Virginia.
Below is the entire apology letter from Knight and Iowa State:
"At approximately 10:45pm on Monday, February 25, two Iowa State students began tweeting a series of reprehensible and disgusting messages toward the University of Kansas basketball team and one player in particular. Though the individuals' accounts have been deleted, those messages contained threats of violence as well as derogatory, racial slurs. Another tweet today made similar comments toward one of the referees – an African-American - from the game.
"On behalf of all students of Iowa State University, I apologize to Elijah Johnson, the students at the University of Kansas, and anyone else who read these hateful and disgusting tweets. I am embarrassed to be associated with these individuals and I unequivocally condemn their statements. This conduct is so far removed from the open-minded and accepting culture of Iowa State students that I have witnessed in my four years on campus.
"That there are people who still think, talk, and act like these students is stunning to me, and it sadly reminds us that there is much work to do in eliminating racism and violence from our society. These individuals are a disgrace to our student body and our university, and we sincerely apologize to everyone affected by this incident."
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