Buffalo Bills Kicker Deletes Social Media Accounts Amid Death Threats
Tyler Bass missed an important field goal in Sunday's playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The NFL playoffs make for an exciting but stressful time for football fans, but that's no excuse to bully players online when games don't go your way. As reported by People, Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass received death threats after missing a field goal during the team's Sunday, Jan. 21 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Because of the harassment, the 26-year-old athlete either deactivated or deleted his Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) accounts.
With less than two minutes left in Sunday's AFC divisional game, the Bills were down 27-24. Bass was called up to attempt a 44-yard field goal, which would have tied the game, but he missed, and the Chiefs won.
"Ultimately, it's completely on me," Bass said after the game, as reported by ESPN. "I've got to do a better job of getting through to my target. I've got to do a better job of playing it a little bit more left when you have a left-to-right [wind]. I've been here long enough to know that you have to do that. You know, I was trusting my line that I had in warmups. Hit a good ball, but it didn't work out. I feel terrible, you know? I love this team and it hurts. This one hurts bad. Yeah, I've got to do a better job. Totally on me."
Meanwhile, quarterback Josh Allen said, "I wish [Bass] wouldn't have been put in that situation. You win as a team, you lose as a team. One play doesn't define a game. It doesn't define a season. I know people are going to be out there saying that. We got to be there for him because again, we execute a couple of plays prior, probably singing a different tune right now."
Bass was reportedly bullied and threatened online after the game, which led him to leave social media entirely. In response, one organization has made a point of standing behind him during this time while also soliciting donations in his honor. Bass is a supporter of the the Erie County, N.Y. no-kill cat rescue Ten Lives Club. Now, the organization has issued a statement and a call to action to return the favor.
"WE STAND WITH TYLER BASS. DON'T BULLY OUR FRIEND," Ten Lives Club wrote in a Jan. 22 Instagram post. "We just heard the terrible news that Tyler Bass is receiving threats after yesterday's game and our phones are ringing off the hook from people who want to donate $22 to Ten Lives Club in Tyler's name." Bass' jersey number is 2.
"Tyler doesn't deserve any of the hate he's receiving," the post continues. "He's an excellent football player and an even better person who took the time to help our organization and rescue cats last year. Leave our friend alone."
Ten Lives Club told People that they've already received $100K in Bass' honor. "Everyone at our cat shelter has been a big fan of his, so to see the negativity and hate that was coming his way hurt our hearts," Kimberly LaRussa, the public relations manager of the rescue, told People. LaRussa added that the shelter has a photo of him with one of the kittens in their lobby. "We just wanted everyone to know what a great guy he is," LaRussa said. "We are so grateful to everyone for their support and for having Tyler's back. We hope this brings him a smile knowing what a difference he is making."
On Ten Lives Club's Instagram account, fans of many different football teams—including the Chiefs—have spoken up for Bass. "Donated! I'm a Chiefs fan (and a cat person), and Tyler doesn't deserve the guff he's getting at all. So sorry to hear about people being awful!" wrote one Instagram user. Another shared, "Donated today. Just a Chiefs fan trying to support these beautiful cat lives and the kindness of Tyler Bass."
One commenter wrote, "You don't have to be a Tyler fan, Bills fan, or even a football fan to know that no player deserves death threats. Full stop."
For more celebrity news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.