E.J. Liddell On Facing Illinois in Champaign: “I Can’t Even Explain How Rude and Disrespectful Some Fans Were”

By Kevin Harrish on February 25, 2022 at 2:43 pm
E.J. Liddell took exception to some fans' comments.
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

E.J. Liddell enjoys himself some trash talk, but what he experienced on Thursday night crossed a line.

When Liddell, a native of Belleville, Illinois, faced the Illini for the first time with fans in attendance on Thursday night, he expected some trash talk. After all, he chose to attend Ohio State over his hometown program of Illinois.

However, he was not prepared for some of the hateful and personal comments directed towards him throughout the game.

"I can't even explain how rude and disrespectful some fans were," Liddell said in a Twitter thread on Friday afternoon. "I have no hard feelings with that university but man y’all are crazy as hell if you think you can just talk to an athlete any kind of way."

Liddell was clear that it wasn't just the average trash talk that bothered him – the chants of "E.J. sucks!" and "traitor!" were certainly expected and enjoyed by the Buckeye forward. But he felt some of the other comments that weren't picked up by television microphones crossed a line.

Liddell wasn't the only one bothered by some of the comments tossed his way. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann heard it too and had a similar reaction.

"I didn't love some of the things they were saying to one of our players, to be honest with you," Holtmann said after the game. "I just thought that was completely uncalled for. Completely uncalled for."

The comments didn't seem to phase him too much. Liddel played a game-high 34-minutes despite being listed as "questionable" after he was hospitalized with the flu this week. Not only did he play, he finished the 86-83 win with 21 points, six rebounds and four blocks.

Quite the way to silence a hostile crowd.

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