Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford told reporters Tuesday that he deleted his social media accounts after receiving death threats and vulgar messages regarding the Nittany Lions' first loss of the season at Minnesota on Nov. 9.
"I usually delete it closer to games, but I completely deleted it after the Minnesota game," Clifford told reporters. "It's kind of sad to say, but you know how fans sometimes get. ... It gets a little crazy. I was kind of, I guess, sick and tired of getting death threats and some pretty explicit and pretty tough-to-read messages."
Clifford has since reactivated his Twitter and Instagram accounts, both of which were active on Tuesday.
"Student safety is the University's top priority," the school said in a statement. "Penn State Police are aware of these allegations and have been providing support to the affected student."
Despite having an excellent season overall, Clifford threw three interceptions in the 31-26 loss to Minnesota, which apparently upset some fans who took to social media to voice their displeasure.
Penn State coach James Franklin said he was there to give Clifford support, as he would with any of his players in a similar situation. After learning about the incidents, Franklin made comments during his media availability thanking the loyal and positive fans, which was a not-so-subtle dig at the fans voicing negative comments.
"I don't know where we are as a society. It's concerning," Franklin said. "We're 9-1, we're ranked in the top 10, I think. We've had a pretty good year based on most people's standards, and sometimes you go on social media and you wouldn't feel that way."
"You hate to see it, but the sad thing [is] it's a part of our reality of our society right now," Franklin said. "You see that in a lot of areas; the last thing I want to do is get into other things besides football right now, but you see a lot of things that are behaviors in our society now that we accept, that I don't know why we're accepting. You see some things from a violence perspective, you see some things that people in positions how they're conducting themselves, just a lot of things that we're accepting in our society that we would never have accepted before."
Clifford said he has not let the negative comments deter him or tarnish his thoughts about this season and himself.
"You learn how to deal with certain things and how certain people are just gonna react because, you know, it's a very passionate game with a lot of passionate people," Clifford said. "Our fans are definitely one of if not the most passionate in the country. I just try to stay away from it. I appreciate all of the positive people that are around, but there's also people that try to tear you down.
"It's always just been better to keep your head away from that kind of stuff."