UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford said he received death threats after Penn State’s loss to Minnesota earlier this season, and gets off social media prior to games.
“It’s kind of sad to see how some fans get,” Clifford said during a media availability session leading up to the Nittany Lions’ Big Ten showdown with No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday.
Penn State (9-1) visits the Buckeyes (10-0) at noon. The game will be televised on FOX43. Ohio State is a 19-point favorite in the game.
Clifford had a rough game in Penn State’s 31-26 loss to the Gophers. He completed 23 of 40 passes for 340 yards and a touchdown, but also threw three crucial interceptions.
The redshirt sophomore said he now avoids looking at his social media accounts before games.
“I was sick and tired of getting death threats and some pretty explicit and tough-to-read messages,” Clifford said Tuesday.
“I just try to stay away from it,” Clifford continued. “I appreciate all of the positive people that are around, but there’s also people that try to tear you down. It’s always just been better to keep your head away from that kind of stuff.”
During his session with the media later in the day on Tuesday, Penn State coach James Franklin expressed his concern over the cutthroat nature of social media.
“I don’t know where we are as a society,” Franklin said. “It’s concerning. We’re 9-1. We’re ranked in the top 10. I think we’ve had a pretty good year based on most people’s standards. Sometimes you go on social media, and you wouldn’t feel that way. The fact that our players are having to deal with stuff like this…
“It’s not just our fan base. It’s all over. I think it’s a little bit of going to this playoff model that we’re in now I think has had an impact on it a little bit. I think the fact that everybody kind of has a voice and everybody has the ability to contact others, it’s concerning.
“I don’t know if I have an answer for it. But it’s troubling, no doubt about it.”