Grant calls out fans after Dayton players face hate online from gamblers

UD coach gets emotional in postgame press conference after victory against Davidson

Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant used his postgame press conference Tuesday after a 68-61 victory against Davidson at UD Arena to address messages his players had received in recent days from gamblers upset about losses.

The Flyers lost their previous game, 63-62 to Virginia Commonwealth, on Friday.

Grant did not get into specifics about what players were targeted on social media or what was said in the messages but got emotional at several times. Here’s a transcript of his comments.

“I have to say something because I think it’s just necessary at this point,” Grant said. “You know, these young men, we’re asking them to sacrifice quite a bit for us to be able to do what we do and enjoy what we enjoy. So I’m just asking all the Flyer fans just to understand that we’re dealing with 18, 21, 22-year-olds, and this is about them. This is about them. So those of us that love the Flyers, which is the vast majority of our fanbase, we appreciate you, but if this is about anything else that doesn’t relate to what’s in the best interests of the kids, what’s in the best interest of this university in this proud program and community that loves the Flyers ...

“There’s some laws that have recently been enacted, that really to me could change the landscape of what college sports is all about. And when we have people that make it about themselves and attack kids because of their own agenda, it sickens me. ... They have families. They don’t deserve that. Mental health is real. So if you’re a Flyer fan, I ask you just to understand what you’re dealing with, with young people. Take a step back, and reevaluate your priorities. And if you can’t, we don’t need you. We don’t need you.”

Sports gambling became legal in Ohio on Jan. 1. Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said there has been a rise in online hate directed at the players since then.

“These are young kids,” Sullivan said, “and I’m not going to add too much to what (Grant) said, but I’m the paid adult. If someone’s getting mad, they can get mad at me. They know where to find me. They’ve found me many times.”

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