ASU responds to Sun Devil football players receiving abuse on social media

Posted at 6:31 PM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 21:31:37-04

No matter the sport, fans certainly aren't happy to see their team lose -- but the ASU official behind the school's football social media account says the harsh criticism directed at the players this season is the worst he's seen.

Granted, an ever-growing social media presence gives more people a platform. Here's a tweet ASU football sent out after the team's first loss, against San Diego State.

An ASU official says that tweet came after expletive-filled messages towards players -- some of them public, some sent in direct message.

On Monday, ABC15 asked ASU head coach Todd Graham about the comments his players are dealing with online.

"None of that's productive (but) I don't worry about things I can't control," Graham said. "Nobody wants to win and be successful more than our players and our coaches, and no one has more invested, so we're working on doing that. But we don't spend time on things we can't control."

Former ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter knows how it feels to be a high-profile athlete in the social media era. He said he received a great deal of feedback, both positive and negative, from fans via email and Facebook during his time with the Sun Devils.

"I think people have gotten more bold with the things that they feel they can or can't say to somebody, especially because there's no repercussions for these people," Carpenter said.

We have seen a tremendous amount of support for the team and players online, and an ASU official told ABC15 that there's a difference between criticism and degrading comments -- and he wants people to remember that these are largely 18-to-22-year-old students.