University of Illinois Investigating Racist Post Targeted at Kofi Cockburn After NCAA Tournament Loss

University of Illinois Investigating Racist Post Targeted at Kofi Cockburn After NCAA Tournament Loss

03/24/2021

The University of Illinois is investigating racist social media attack amid the Big Ten Conference.

It comes after Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn, 21, became the second player to say he was targeted on social media with racist comments, after their NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to to No. 8 Loyola Chicago on Sunday.

According to ESPN, the Jamaican athlete, who was recruited in 2019, shared a screenshot of the comment, writing in response, "I blame his parents."

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The school has spoken to Cockburn, and they're investigating the situation, after the source of the comment was identified by others on social media, a spokesperson for the university told ESPN.

The University of Illinois and NCAA did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.

The news of the racist messages received by Cockburn comes days after Ohio State contacted the police after Buckeyes forward EJ Liddell, 20, received threatening and insulting messages from two disgruntled fans on Friday, following the team's loss to Oral Roberts.

"I hope you die I really do," read one of the messages, of which he posted screenshots to Twitter, writing, "Honestly, what did I do to deserve this? I'm human."

"Comments don't get to me but I just wanna know why," he wrote in another tweet. "I've never done anything to anyone in my life to be approached like this."

Liddell told CNN the messages "kinda messed me up a little bit. People just watch the TV but like, off the court, I have a mom, a little brother, a big sister and they all care for me dearly. I know they don't want me to be talked about like that."

"These comments, while not from or representative of Ohio State fans, are vile, dangerous and reflect the worst of humanity," Buckeyes head coach Chris Holtmann said in a statement. "EJ is an outstanding young man who had a tremendous sophomore season and he was instrumental in our team's success. We will take the necessary actions here at the University to address this immediately."

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