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Messages to Referee John Higgins are Released

Mark Humphrey | AP

A Omaha, Nebraska a detective has released findings from the investigation involving referee John Higgins and the potentially threatening messages Higgins received from Kentucky fans following UK’s Elite Eight loss to North Carolina.

After spending 80 hours examining countless written posts and over 800 voicemails, Sarpy County Sheriffs Detective Matt Barrel found seven messages that could be considered a crime.  All of the messages included some sort of violent threat.  Heavily edited for WOWT-TV viewers, here is what remains:

1. “You should put a gun in your mouth and blow your won fricking brains out.”

2. “If I ever see you in person I’m going to smack the taste out of your fricking mouth.”

3. “You’re going to pay buddy.”

4. “You enjoy your life before somebody kills you.”

5. “Hey you hear that garbage truck in the background? Wish you were in it personally you **.”

6. “I hope the hell John Higgins falls off a roof and spends the rest of his life in a wheelchair.”

7. “I hope you all get in a plane crash and die.”

The detective has made copies of the voicemails, attached transcripts and his report and sent them to the originating jurisdictions, “primarily in Kentucky.”  Prosecutors from those jurisdictions will decide whether or not to press charges.

Seeing the messages written is not hardly as powerful as hearing them uttered over the phone. You can listen to the voicemails in the WOWT video package.

[WOWT]

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

32 Comments for Messages to Referee John Higgins are Released



  1. chris43
    11:09 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Good luck on getting any charges pressed JOHNNY boy! Please be safe while working on those roofs this Summer! 😄😃😀



  2. Cousins Fake Tooth
    11:25 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Point? Its not illegal nor a crime to tell someone they hope they blow their brains out or crash in a plane. Good luck with those charges.



  3. davidpat
    11:33 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    I understand but still… we need to be classy! We are the best College Basketball program in the world.
    Although this is only 7 emails out of millions of fans (many who probably have bad feelings for Higgins and other refs as well), there are a lot of jealous anti-UK people that live for any negative reports (true or false) about UK or Coach Cal. I remember what the Coach said, “They don’t want to just beat us, they want to be us!” Oh and it is sooooooooooo good to be a Wildcat!

    Goooooooooooo Big Blueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee



    • 4everblue
      9:26 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      This wouldn’t even have made the headlines if it were UNC or Duke.



  4. JLP
    11:41 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    I am surprised that these could be considered illegal threats. It is one thing to say “I am going to…” versus saying you hope something bad happens to a person. The former is a direct threat but the latter is just a wish. I really expected a lot worse than this when I heard death threats were made. Of course. I am not defending the idiots who sent such messages. There is a line these messages cross but II am surprised it might be a legal one rather than a commonsense/ethical one



  5. JusSayin
    11:41 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    I hate to be this guy… but this really isn’t that uncommon for anybody who is moderately famous or controversial.

    Players get threatened after playing bad. Just check their mentions on twitter. It never seems to turn into all this. If he feels the need to press charges he should go ahead but we need to not act like this unique or Kentucky fans are especially worse than any other blue blood fan base.



  6. 8 god
    11:44 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    This mostly sucks because it distracts from the atrocious came he called



  7. Ridge Runner
    11:47 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Agreed.

    Takes away from that point completely



    • Ridge Runner
      11:49 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

      Meant that as a reply to you, 8 god. My bad



  8. turdyshmurda
    11:48 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    What a douche. That comes with the job. If you can’t handle threats, don’t referee.



  9. Kevin C
    11:58 am June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Only 2 of these could evenly remotely be considered terroristic threatening.



    • runningunnin.454
      12:25 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      True; references to I hope, I wish, “somebody”, and suicide are not threats.



  10. BBNDan7
    12:21 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Y’all are totally missing the point. It’s a game, there is no need for anything even close to this. I don’t care how bad he is, he has a family and no reason should a ref feel that his life is being threatened. Grow up



    • runningunnin.454
      12:27 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      That is all true; however, he should lose the NCAA job,
      he is not competent and has had multiple problems with other fan bases.



    • BBNDan7
      6:11 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      Yes, he’s obviously not good. Or at least not ref certain teams games. It’s still all just a game at then end of the day



  11. Wakecrash
    12:38 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Should I be arrested if I told someone I’ll hit them so hard I’ll give their grandchildren headaches? This is hypothetical of course.
    If these are crimes we need a massive police force monitoring online game play trash talk.
    childish, yes, crime,,,,, geez…
    He had a police detective spend 80 hours on this,,,,, proves he is a little @$#% snowflake.



    • Eazy
      2:09 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      The real snowflake is your boy Drumpf. He is always crying like a little biatch over the criticism he gets. I agree Higgins is a joke, though. Good thing Cal is a huge liberal. Can’t wait to see you all turn on him when he runs for office.



  12. UKfanforlife
    12:52 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

    The FBI needs to take a hard look at his finances. It seems very odd for a referee to make so many one sided calls in a half and not have a monetary interest in the outcome. A lot of money is bet on those games.



  13. Nick Roush
    1:00 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Dear “People Who Don’t Think These Are Threats:”

    Those seven messages were edited for TV. You can’t say bad words on TV. They are abbreviated segments of longer messages that contained language to foul for television.

    I’m sorry you didn’t understand that the first time around.



    • runningunnin.454
      1:15 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      He still should lose the NCAA gig; then the only threats he would have to worry about will come from people when he messes up their roof.
      I N C O M P E T E N T.



    • Wakecrash
      1:29 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      Bad words don’t make threats. Asterisks can blank out threats, and our imagination can fill in the rest to understand the meaning. What is just about as bad is 800 people actually calling him. Probably could spend better time leaving logical arguments about the ref to the NCAA somewhere. The 800 peeps too stupid or ignorant to figure out that stuff backfires.
      The guy is a no good ref, but he is still just a guy.



    • Booby Petrino
      2:40 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      Dear Roush, It’s “too foul”
      I’m sorry you didn’t understand English your first time around.



    • TBW3011
      8:28 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      Dear guy who apparently doesn’t know what the word threat means. Adding in foul language still doesn’t make any of those a threat.



    • oruacat2
      8:48 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      Foul language and bad words aren’t threats, genius.



  14. zielritter
    1:25 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Gee, they sound like uneducated rednecks. What a huge surprise.



    • Ridge Runner
      1:30 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      Or… educated non rednecks who lost a ton of money from gambling…



    • Eazy
      2:13 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

      Agreed, not representative of our fan base overall though. Also, I think it’s funny we can call all the people from Eastern KY and South Louisville rednecks and white trash but when people call Louisville fans thugs, ghetto etc it’s racist. And I’m a huge progressive. Just pointing out the hypocrisy.



  15. Kat4Life
    2:44 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Enough of the Higgins saga already…….



  16. sram
    7:00 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

    There are 10 times worse comments on the Vatican message boards!

    That prosecutor is a joke……….



  17. TBW3011
    8:24 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

    Idiotic, but not a single one of those is close to a threat. A judge will be pissed if anyone even attempts to waste their time on this.



  18. ClutchCargo
    11:25 pm June 3, 2017 Permalink

    While I don’t condone the low class behavior of these people, I feel like I need to point out the obvious. As someone before stated, this type of hate mail isn’t uncommon for someone with even a moderate celebrity status. The problem is, if this idiot would just do his job and quit with the grandstanding, most people would have no idea who he is, much less decide to send him nasty emails.



  19. BobNWeaver
    7:51 pm June 4, 2017 Permalink

    Was the caller Wichita State basketball coach’s wife Lynn Marshall? I seem to remember her saying those kinds of things to someone. (And just to be clear, SHE was rude and disrespectful, and so was the caller who made these phone calls.)