During Colorado’s come-from-behind win over Colorado State in Week 3, star wide receiver/cornerback Travis Hunter was knocked out of the game by Colorado State safety Henry Blackburn. The animosity between the rival schools was already turned up to a thousand coming into game after Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell took some shots at “Coach Prime” Deion Sanders in an interview. Hunter’s injury made things even more heated.
The fallout from the hit and the subsequent injury has been blown far out of proportion. Blackburn was flagged for the play, but many were asking for him to be suspended for not only the next Rams game, but the rest of the season. It has also been reported that Blackburn had received death threats on social media because of the hit, which sparked a response from Sanders at Tuesday’s press conference.
“I forgive him,” Sanders said. “Our team forgives him. Travis Hunter has forgiven him. Let’s move on. That kid does not deserve that.”
Players from both teams were jawing at each other before the game, and the animosities boiled over when the ball was kicked off. Late in the first quarter of the game, Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders threw a go route to Hunter that fell incomplete, but after the ball was dead, Blackburn hit Hunter in the chest, knocking him out of the game. Colorado would end up winning in double overtime, but after the game Hunter was diagnosed with a lacerated kidney and would miss the Buffaloes’ next three to four games.
Hunter currently is recovering from the injury at home, but he also spoke about the hit on a livestream he hosted.
Colorado WR/CB Travis Hunter on Henry Blackburn’s illegal hit on him: “He did what he’s supposed to do. It’s football.”
Blackburn’s hit lacerated Hunter’s liver, and he said it’s cool.
That’s that Heisman talk. pic.twitter.com/KGe5TGdk9H
— RJ Young (@RJ_Young) September 19, 2023
It’s a very classy act by both Hunter and Sanders, but also a sign that people might’ve taken the hit and subsequent fallout too far. Blackburn was in the wrong, yes, but sending death threats to a player is crossing a line, even if you deem the hit dirty. Receiving death threats over a football game isn’t what college football is supposed to be about, and hopefully people can move on and Hunter gets back to full health.