When it comes to sports, anyone who watches and cheers for a particular player or team has the opportunity to formulate their own opinions.
Some teams and players get more attention than others, and when it came to the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes, it is difficult to find a player more widely criticized or loved than redshirt-junior cornerback Bradley Roby.
Upon taking the field on Senior Day Nov. 23 before the Buckeyes took on Indiana, Roby was subjected to a loud mix of both cheers and boos from Buckeye Nation.
Just three days before, OSU coach Urban Meyer confirmed that Roby, a projected first-round pick by CBSSports, would forego his final year of eligibility.
This seemed to only be the beginning of what has become an enthralling saga of OSU’s star cornerback.
After suffering a knee injury late in his team’s 34-24 loss in Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan State Dec. 7, the All-American’s status was unclear for the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl against Clemson. Roby ultimately did not suit up against the Tigers because of the injury, resulting in backlash from OSU fans on social media.
Fans berated Roby before, during and after the Orange Bowl on Twitter, and the name-calling has continued, to some fans still calling him a p—- and saying he quit on his team as recent as Monday.
Roby offered a stern response early Saturday morning on Twitter.
“The fact that people tweeting at me sayin all this negativity is crazy to me,” the tweet, published after 1 a.m., read. “It makes me ashamed to even have played for y’all.”
Not everything was negative, though, as Roby sent another tweet just two minutes later thanking members of the OSU fan base for their support.
“To the true fans I truly appreciate it the support you have given me and this team over the years,” the tweet read.
The disrespect toward Roby was so bad that ESPN college football analyst and former Buckeye quarterback Kirk Herbstreit offered his support.
“Hey man. I’m sorry you or any player has to be subjected to ridiculous fans like that. Keep ur head up & stay positive,” Herbstreit’s tweet sent to Roby’s personal account, @BradRoby_1, read.
No one will ever know if Roby’s presence on the field against the Tigers during the Orange Bowl would have given OSU what it needed to win the game. But his replacement, sophomore cornerback Armani Reeves, was beaten by Clemson junior wide receiver Martavis Bryant for two touchdowns in the game.
Regardless of what everyone was saying about him playing or not, Roby responded with yet another tweet later Saturday, giving thanks to those fans who supported him.
“S/O to the REAL Buckeyenation for showing so much love,” the tweet read. “We truly have the best fans in the land! And I enjoyed playing for you.”
Whether Roby will have a successful NFL career remains to be seen, but as he and OSU’s season came to a close early Saturday morning, he surely left his mark.