- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - University of New Mexico basketball coach Craig Neal says his son, who also plays as a point guard on his father’s team, has been harassed and threatened online.

At a news conference Thursday, Neal said his son Cullen Neal has had to change his phone number twice, shut down his Twitter account and deactivate Facebook as a result of threats.

“Walk in his shoes for one day. It’s not fair that you get threats and you get death threats. It’s not right,” Craig Neal said.

The sophomore guard has come under fire since December when the Lobos fought through a four-game losing streak before heading into conference play. Overall, the Lobos are 14-10 and 7-4 in Mountain West, where the team is tied for second place in the league.

Cullen Neal has started in 23 of the team’s 24 games. Fans have been critical because the coach’s son leads the team in turnovers with 3.3 a game. His turnovers have been down in recent weeks, but newspaper comment sections and local radio call in shows seem to have increased.

“I want to make it clear that the vast majority of our fans are tremendously supportive of all our teams and of Cullen,” said UNM athletic director Paul Kreb. “But I think the criticism of Cullen Neal is outrageous by some of our fans. I think it’s despicable, actually.”

Craig Neal said he understand some people will perceive his comments on the criticism as just a father speaking up for his son, but he says it’s also because Cullen is his player. He says he recruits players and doesn’t want them to have to face harassment to wear a Lobos jersey.

“If you’re a fan, and you’re a true Lobo fan, I think you cheer for whoever plays here,” he said, “no matter how bad they play or what they do.”



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