Updated with open letter from Michigan’s interim athletic director

As if botching a punt that was recovered and returned by Michigan State for the game-winning touchdown weren’t bad enough, Michigan punter Blake O’Neill endured suicide suggestions on Twitter after the Spartans’ victory Saturday. It was so bad that Michigan’s interim athletic director wrote an open letter asking that the community “not lose this game twice.”

Many of the tweets have been deleted, but College Spun and Mlive have compilations that featured, among others:

“@blakeoneill go to the equipment room and start chugging that bleach my friend,” “jump off of a cliff into a pool of spikes and cyanide,” and “you might as well cut your hands off.”

Others suggested that O’Neill was on the take and working for the Mafia and some were just downright mean.

Jim Hackett, the athletic director, was stunned by fans who took out their anger on O’Neill and wrote an open letter.

Today I awake to the shocking reality that our community who care so much about this program would send hurtful, spiteful and vicious comments to one of our students. To be clear, such comments come from a small minority, none of whom are reflective of our institution.
The program I know at Michigan speaks about the team, the team the team. The people I have been associated with my whole life around this fantastic program – some whom are living and some whom have passed on – would never, I repeat never, spread blame.`
As our head coach said yesterday, “…this outcome will steel our spine.”
That means all of us.
I’m asking that our community not lose this game twice by condoning thoughtless comments and remember the Fielding Yost comment that this is the “Michigan of ours.”

Not all Michigan fans were riding the punter from Melbourne, Australia, though. Some remembered that this is, after all, a 22-year-old.

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