Oklahoma football fans make threats against Lincoln Riley crystal clear, and it's ugly

Former Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley has been the target of unseemly threats from the Sooners fanbase.
Lincoln Riley, USC Trojans
Lincoln Riley, USC Trojans / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Lincoln Riley made waves in the college football world when he left the Oklahoma Sooners for the USC Trojans ahead of the 2022 season. Since then, USC has taken off into the stratosphere behind the Heisman-winning play of QB Caleb Williams. The Sooners find themselves in an uncomfortable no-man's land — good enough to rank and make a bowl game, but far from the true contenders circle.

The Brent Venables experience in Norman has been far from positive and fans are understandably frustrated by Riley's sudden departure and the program's fallout. When a beloved figure leaves for greener pastures, most fans can't help but feel betrayed.

That said, there is a fine line between righteous discontent and criminal activity. Certain members of the Sooners' fanbase have taken their displeasure with Lincoln Riley more than a few steps too far, leading to security concerns.

Riley told reporters people tried to break into his house the day after his announced his move to SoCal. Oklahoma insider George Stoia spoke with Norman PD and uncovered disturbing details.

Oklahoma football fans tried to break into Lincoln Riley's home after USC move

It goes without saying that behavior of this sort should never be condoned or accepted. Sports is a huge part of life for a lot of people — especially college football, where fans become attached to alma maters and the unique culture around Saturday afternoons on campus. But, there's much more to life than sports. Frustration about a coach's departure should never bleed into your everyday life, much less cause a person to commit acts of violence or vandalism against a man and his family.

To really drive home an unsettling point, members of an online Sooners forum reacted to the new Riley report not with remorse, but with relish.

"'Threatened? As in past tense?" is one huge red flag.

Riley has security measures in place at games and at practice, and it's clear the police are aware of threats made against him. This simply should not be happening. Not all Sooner fans can be lobbed into one basket here — this is a loud and unruly minority — but it's a bad look that tarnishes the reputation of a stellar program.

The Trojans will soon join the Big Ten, while the Sooners are SEC-bound. Any rivalry between the schools will be distant and one-sided, with USC fans bearing no ill will toward the Sooners or the program that built their esteemed new head coach.

Oklahoma has been worse off without Riley — no surprise there — but this behavior is entirely unacceptable and unbecoming. Hopefully Brent Venables and the Sooners' PR machine can urge the fanbase to behave more cordially toward their former coach.

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