Colorado State senior safety Henry Blackburn has found himself at the center of a controversy and subject to disturbing threats following a hit on University of Colorado star Travis Hunter during their recent game, according to Rams’ athletic director Joe Parker.

In the game, Blackburn was penalized for an illegal hit on Hunter in the first half. The hit, which resulted in an undisclosed injury to Hunter, was widely criticized as a dirty play. Despite the penalty, Blackburn was not ejected from the game.

The aftermath of the hit took an alarming turn as threats, including death threats, began to target Blackburn. These threats emerged even before the game concluded, prompting serious concern for his safety.

The situation escalated when Blackburn’s personal information, including his cellphone number, his mother’s contact details, his campus address, and his family’s home address, were leaked on the internet. This led to a flood of calls and messages directed at him and his family.

“We’re very concerned about our player’s safety as Henry and his family have continued to receive these threats,” expressed Parker. He emphasized that Henry never intended to harm anyone on the football field and that such behavior goes against the principles they teach and coach.

Who is Henry Blackburn?

Henry Blackburn is a senior defensive back at Colorado State, hailing from Boulder, Colorado. In his junior year in 2022, he recorded 53 tackles, 8 pass breakups, an interception, and forced 2 fumbles. As a sophomore in 2021, he made 41 tackles with 2 pass breakups. In his freshman year in 2020, he had 23 tackles and a pass defense. He was a standout in high school, ranked 15th in the state and holding a three-star listing. He set state records for touchdowns and receiving yards and was named first team All-State as both a receiver and safety.

Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell also weighed in, expressing sadness at the state of the world where such incidents occur in the context of a football game. He described Blackburn’s hit as a “bang-bang play” and stressed that it’s not something they coach or endorse.

Video replays of the incident showed Hunter taking a few steps after the ball hit the turf before Blackburn made contact, further complicating the debate surrounding the hit.

Travis Hunter’s injury was a significant setback for the University of Colorado, with reports suggesting he may be sidelined for multiple weeks due to a lacerated liver. Despite his absence, the Buffaloes managed a comeback, ultimately securing a hard-fought victory in two overtime periods, winning 43-35.