Death threats for Kyle Williams after 49ers lose play-off game
San Francisco player singled out after fumble helps New York Giants get to Super Bowl
AMERICAN football star Kyle Williams has been subjected to death threats on the internet after his mistakes cost the San Francisco 49ers a place in this year's Super Bowl. His team lost 20-17 to the New York Giants in overtime after he was responsible for two turnovers. The Giants will now face the New England Patriots in the 46th Super Bowl on 5 February in Indianapolis.
The 49ers were leading in the fourth quarter when Williams (above) made his first mistake. The specialist punt returner tried to avoid a kick from New York, but failed to get out of the way in time and the ball brushed his leg. That meant the Giants got the ball back and capitalised with a touchdown to take the lead. But San Francisco managed to reply and send the match into overtime, when the first team to score wins.
Then, during sudden death, Williams made his second blunder. This time he fumbled another punt, which was retrieved by the Giants, who were able to score a match-winning field goal as a result. It was converted by Scottish-born kicker Lawrence Tynes.
The reaction to Williams's mistakes was vitriolic among disappointed 49ers fans. One supporter, Javier Pasquel, threatened Williams on Twitter, sending him a message that read: "I hope you, youre [sic] wife, kids and family die, you deserve it."
On Facebook Cole Matthew Mitguard wrote: "Let's just hope that KW gets hit by a bus, eaten by a lion, or dies in some other terrible way so he can't ruin the 49ers season again."
But Williams's teammates rallied round. CBS sports columnist Gregg Doyel reported that during interviews after the game the media were warned not to blame Williams, and he found the response heartwarming. "You could say Kyle Williams lost this game for the 49ers. The evidence, cruel as it is, is compelling," he wrote. "But don't say that around his teammates. They're having none of it."
There was plenty of support for Williams on Twitter and Facebook as well, where an almighty row blew up as his persecutors found themselves under attack from more level-headed 49ers fans. Indeed for several hours Williams was one of the most talked about topics on the social networking site.