New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is taking a break from Twitter after saying his family received personal threats this week amid an ongoing stock-trading standoff between retail investors and hedge funds.
"I've really enjoyed the back and forth with Mets fans on Twitter which was unfortunately overtaken this week by misinformation unrelated to the Mets that led to our family getting personal threats," Cohen said in a statement Saturday after deactivating his account Friday night. "So I'm going to take a break for now. We have other ways to listen to your suggestions and remain committed to doing that. I love our team, this community, and our fans, who are the best in baseball. Bottom line is that this week's events in no way affect our resources and drive to put a championship team on the field."
Cohen's decision to step off Twitter appears to stem from conflict between independent investors and hedge funds. Retail investors, mobilized on Reddit, have poured about all the money they can find into the stocks of struggling video game retailer GameStop and a few other beaten-down companies. Their buying has swollen those companies' share prices beyond anyone's imagination and inflicted huge losses on the hedge funds that had placed bets that the stocks would drop, also known as "shorting."
Cohen's Point72 Asset Management became involved when it made a $750 million infusion into Melvin Capital Management, a hedge fund that had heavily placed bets against GameStop and drew the ire of the Reddit users.
GameStop rocketed nearly 70% on Friday to close at $325. Over the past three weeks, the stock has delivered a stupefying 1,600% gain. The danger for the retail investors is that, at any time, the stocks could collapse.
Before closing his Twitter account, Cohen -- the richest owner in baseball, worth more than $14.5 billion -- responded to the controversy Tuesday by tweeting, "Rough crowd on Twitter tonight. Hey stock jockeys, keep bringing it."
Among the critics of Cohen, WFAN morning host and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason said he would stop going to Mets games "until I find out exactly what's going on here" regarding Cohen's involvement with the GameStop situation.
The Mets owner had previously garnered a Twitter following of nearly 200,000 for his irreverent interactions with fans, where he took suggestions about how to run the team, reacted to the team's biggest moves -- such as the trade for shortstop Francisco Lindor -- and teased a return of black jerseys.
Cohen first took a stake in the Mets in 2012. Last year, he gained 95% ownership in a deal that valued the club at $2.4 billion, a record sale price for a Major League Baseball team.
ESPN's Joon Lee and The Associated Press contributed to this report.